Both in my practice and in my experience, I often deal with feelings of anxiety and stress. Sometimes we react by looking for more things to do *against* these feelings. This happens to many of us, even after a long time of practicing yoga and meditation. This is why I want to share one great piece of advice that I have received: refrain from advanced practice for some time.
Simplicity may require some discipline, but it helps creating a space that feels very natural and peaceful. And in that space it becomes easier to connect with myself in the present moment. Simple movements becomes source of joy, and each simple experience becomes deeper. I treasure this space, and it’s part of the reason why the yoga classes I share have little to do with progress and achievement. From my teachers I have learned that an “advanced” yoga practice can actually look very simple.
This is a simple guided meditation that I use to invite calm at the beginning of a practice:
- With your eyes closed, imagine the space around you; use the external noises to really visualise it; then visualise yourself in this space, and come into your own presence.
- Switch your attention to the internal noises in your body: your heart beating, maybe your stomach rumbling, the noise inside your ears; start observe your breath, without changing it; how do you feel in this moment?
- Start feeling the two forces acting on your body in this space; the first force is gravity; feel gravity pulling you down, feel its force under your feet; at the same time, feel the earth giving you a rebound force, giving you the push to stay up.
- From this rebound force of the earth, feel the elongation in your spine, feel how you’re growing tall to the sky; imagine there is a thread coming from the ceiling and pulling you up from the top of your head.
- Observe your breath between these two forces; each time you breathe in, the little cushions between your vertebrae are becoming thicker, and you’re growing a little taller, creating space; each time you breathe out, you’re grounding a little more into the earth.
- In this space, with your roots into the earth and your crown up to sky, we will start moving our body; the movement will remain playful, with the minimum effort possible, and in each position we will try to relax as many muscles as possible; we will keep observing our breath between gravity and elongation.
I find this feels best for me when it goes slowly 🙂 and I look forward to practicing together.