This weekend I was working in my garden; a place where I often discover inspirations that are not sourced from thoughts. At some point I was thinking about my experience of our theme last month, inversions, literally going upside down, and exploring trust . My reflections reminded me that May was a strange mix of feeling new shifts emerging on all fronts while slipping back into old fear based patterns that were challenging my trust. The paradox of these pulls felt a bit topsy-turvy. Then out of the blue an image of the words ME and WE appeared and I realized that if you turned the letter M upside down you get a W. This both created a laugh out loud moment and a profound knowing that the shifts that are emerging are dependent on truly embodying a shift from a ME to a WE consciousness. When I’m moving from a “ME” place I start to feel constricted and fearful but when I’m moving from a “WE” place I feel expansive, connected and guided by trust. From here my actions feel rooted to my intuition, where I have both a deep sense of knowing and not knowing at the same time.
As I moved in and out of balance last month I rediscovered how essential meditation or Dhyana is in my life. For 10 years before discovering yoga and meditation I rarely slept more than 3-5 hours a night. As a result I developed many health problems that were sourced from my inability to rest and rebalance myself. Over the past several months my meditation practice continued to get lighter and shorter and it is no surprise so did my sleep. What I also noticed was the palpable dissonance in my body that was created by my busy mind. My focus became more about ME than WE, moving me further away from NOW and peace.
I often draw on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras for inspiration and this month I was amazed to discover a whole new way of looking at the first Yoga Sutra 1:1.
Atha yoga anushasanam
Now, the teachings of yoga.
I have read this sutra so many times and have always glossed over it as a simple introduction, somehow missing that the entire teaching of yoga is actually right here in the first word; Atha- NOW. This seemingly simple beginning gently reminds us that all yoga teachings emerge from and lead us back to the timeless and all powerful NOW.
Over the past week I have returned to a daily 30-minute mediation practice and the shift has been incredible. With this glorious weather I have been practicing outside and the buzzing of bees, hummingbirds and dragonflies has been the music calming my mind and guiding me back to the present moment.
This time of year is full of life and energy, finding practices that bring us into NOW, our theme for June, feels more essential than ever. What I have learned over the years from my students is that different people and different times in our lives require distinct practices. At times we need more movement and other times we need more stillness to create balance.
The balance of these practices is beautifully demonstrated in the sun salutation, Surya Namaskar, where the arousing energy of back bends and inhales is perfectly balanced with the calming energy of the exhale and forward bends. That sequence starts and ends with Tadasana, or mountain pose, giving us two repetitions in that pose where we can take a moment to pause and remember the power of Atha, NOW. As we practice together this month we will be exploring both movement through the Surya Namaskar and Dhyana, stillness through meditation .
The summer solstice marks the midway point of our year, a powerful time to reflect on how your life is breathing. Are you finding time for both the inhale and the exhale?
I leave you with a poem and look forward to practicing with you as the month unfolds.”
By Dana Faulds
It only takes a minute to breathe,
A moment to be still, and just like that,
Something in me settles, softens,
makes space for imperfection
The harsh voice of judgment
Drops to a whisper and i
Remember again that life isn’t a relay
Race; that we will all cross the finish Line;
that waking up to life is what we
Were born for. As many times as I
Forget, catch myself charging forward
Without even knowing where I’m going,
That many times I can make the choice
To stop, to breathe, and be, and walk
Slowly into the mystery.