I just returned a couple of days ago from two phenomenal retreats in Mexico – my annual Yoga & Spirit Retreat in Sayulita and then a Cultural & Culinary Retreat in Oaxaca. Fourteen incredible days filled with adventure and abundant heart connections. I left Mexico feeling light, inspired and joyful.
And while my intention was to try and sustain this post retreat high for as long as possible, in less than 3 days I began to falter under the pressures of my long post trip to do list. How easy it is to fall back into habits that create contraction and tunnel vision. Anyone relate?
So today I took some time in front of my altar to sit, close my eyes and just breathe. And within just a few moments I could sense more ease and flow.
The breath is the thread that connects the body and the mind. When the breath is easy and expansive, then the mind and the body will also express these qualities. It can be easy to forget this – it happens to me all the time. But then I remember and with the next breath everything can change.
The term sthira-suhkam is often used to describe this state of being, where sthira means steady and stable and sukham means comfortable and ease-filled.
Whatever is happening for you right now, join me for a moment and become curious about your breath.
- Start with the exhalation. Watch the out-breath with an inquiring mind. What does it feel like? What does it sound like? Pay attention and practice watching until you know everything out your exhalation.
- Now focus on your inhalation, with the same level of curiosity.
- Stay relaxed. And simply observe your experience.
So now turn off your computer. Find a comfortable place to sit, maybe even with some sunshine. Close your eyes. Breathe. Repeat.
love & pranams,
Manomaya Kosha is the Mind or Mental Sheath. This is the body that connects the Physical and Breath Bodies and corresponds to your nervous system. This is the mind as the processor of sensory input and expresses itself as thought waves. It is sometimes also referred to as the ‘lower mind’. This is the Kosha that most of us are very aware of, as we experience vrittis, or mental fluctuations almost continuously. A large part of our practice, however, is to work at calming these fluctuations and find stillness.
Still remember your New Years resolutions? Yeh, neither can I, and I definitely dumped whatever ones I had made for far better ones today! But that’s just the natural flow of life, isn’t it?
Today, I’d like to talk about some ideas on how you can be nice to yourself, nurture yourself, you know.. some self care ideas.
Yoga. Yoga of the mind. Yoga of the body. Yoga of the soul. There are so many positive benefits from keeping a regular Yoga practice that you’re probably better off stepping away from reading this and doing a nice forward fold. And while you’re doing that forward fold, feel your breath flowing into your veins and filling up your heart with sunshine. Visualize magic.
Hydration. These vessels we call our bodies are incredibly full of water, so feed yourself some good clean water. Avoid processed sugar rich, caffeine rich, alcohol rich liquids, and go for more pure forms hydration. Some of my favourite choices are – aside from fresh water from the tap! – coconut water, herbal teas, and I’m getting very excited about Kombucha. Oh probiotic goodness come to me!
Food. Make healthy choices with food. This includes avoiding processed (ready heavily salted and preserved) foods like Lays potato chips (I know, so delicious), foods from a can or box like TV dinners or frozen pizzas or spaghettios, and fatty foods like cheese, 12 oz. steaks, and butter. Have you ever heard of the perimeter diet, where you just go around the perimeter of the grocery store? You’ll find lots of fruits, vegetables, and nuts around the perimeter.
Sleep! This is me giving you permission to go to bed early and to sleep in late. Any time spent vertical is pure bliss to your body. And don’t even get me started with the power of naps!
Perhaps you can share with me a few more ideas on how to give myself some self care?