Tapping into Trust
There seems to be an overwhelming agreement that 2016, the year of the monkey in Chinese Astrology, has started with a bang. New beginnings, ventures and directions; needless to say many of us have found ourselves wondering what happened to the last few months and feeling a little overwhelmed by the whirlwind.
Personally, when things get too busy or I have too many balls in the air at one time I find the vata (air, ether element) in me gets a little out of whack, which in turn fuels the pita (fire element). My patience decreases, I fluster easily, become disconnect from my intuition and start questioning my trust in the natural progression of life. My yoga practice is usually the first place I look for guidance and where I begin to reflect, shuffle and asses what it is I need to bring back some balance.
Before throwing yourself into your practice, take a few moments to ground and reconnect with the breath. If you have any preconceived ideas of what you want to work through, take a few moments to checkin and make sure the plans in your head align with the needs of your heart eg. where you’re at physically and emotionally. Ego can easily get in the way of an intuitive practice and we can find ourselves working through asana ticking off a mental list of poses. Meet yourself where you are, and trust that honouring that will lead you to where you want to be.
If the mind is busy and the body fidgety begin the practice with something more dynamic such as a few rounds of Surya Namaskara, then gradually bring the tempo down, possibly finishing with a few forward bends. If, on the other hand you find yourself flat and fatigued maybe start with something slow and gentle, gradually bringing the intensity up to include some stronger standing poses or inversions. In times of extreme fatigue or for women during their moon time (menstruation) respecting this space and keeping your practice nourishing and gentle will pay enormously in the long run.
Forward bends and semi-inversions are a regular in my daily practice. They bring an almost instant release and activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest), calming the mind and regulating the breath cycle. For seated forward bends such as Janu Sirshasana, Paschimottanasana or Upavistha konasana placing a folded blanket under the sit bones will help to maintain the natural curvature of the spine. Bend from the hips, keeping the torso long (front spine and back spine), the heart space open and gaze gently forward. Be honest with yourself, and only come as far forward as your hips will let you, trust that in time your body will open and allow you to come deeper.
For standing forward bends such as Uttanasana, Padangusthasana or Prasarita Padottanasana have some blocks or a chair available if you cannot reach the hands to the ground without compromising the back. Again, the folding action comes from the hips with the torso extending long, heart space kept open.
Your personal mat space is the perfect place to learn and practice trust, tapping into that deep intuition we all have. The ultimate goal is to take what we learn there and infuse it into our everyday life, often, a much more challenging practice.