We are privileged to have a physical home; warmth, space to rest, food for our bellies, fellow yogis and beings we call companions and friends. Yet amidst all this, there can be a feeling of loneliness - in certain aspects of our lives, or certain situations that stir up anxieties and uncertainties. We feel disconnected, small, and separate.
Even amidst the blessings we can count, the world can feel like (and is indeed) a turbulent place. Particularly in this last leg of a classic Melbourne Winter combined with shifts in our climate, where can we found that supportive sense of grounding, centre and stability?
I have discovered great power in the practice of literally re-membering these dispersed aspects of experience, and returning home to Self.
In the yogic tradition, Self (as opposed to little 's' self) refers to the state of a vast consciousness.
You may have felt this inter-connected, seemingly boundless feeling of peace or contentment as glimpses in your day - when you are most rested, most joyful, most at ease. It is a myth that this needs to be 'found', as if it's outside of yourself... it is more akin to a re-membering, that underneath the webs of stories and the guards we put up in a defended heart-mind, we already have this purity, and ability to experience profound peace.
Through the practice of releasing walls and stories, we are literally creating new grooves in our mind, pathways to better link to this deeper, wider Self. Within this more vast landscape, in ourselves, we can more skillfully ease outside of the incessant mind-chatter which clings, judges, labels and separates us from each other.
We can choose to see them, but not allow them to drive our decisions.
Whatever we practice, will grow stronger. When we re-member Self, we are in yoga as a verb, rather than a noun. We yoke consciousness and presence, together in the present moment.
So reflect and recognise from your own experience, what your Self might feel like, in your body, in your thoughts, in your heart. As we move towards a new Spring, remember you can choose, each moment, to practice moving towards that essence of Self, already present.
It's a journey, one step at a time. Begin now.
Below you'll find a simple re-membering practice, which takes a few minutes of your attention.
Try it - and let us know how you go! You might be surprised what difference a few intentional breaths, and moments of focused mind-energy can make in your awareness.
~ RE-MEMBERING HEART-MIND~
3-5 MINUTE PRACTICE
Whether it's before/after your time on the mat, in-transit, prior to a meeting, a challenging discussion, or even as you first wake in the morning, you can try this simple practice to release yourself into a more present state of being.
The mind is consciousness; the heart is presence.
We need both to be in balance to be our most whole in this moment.
A few simple gestures, a few intentional breaths. It won’t ‘fix’ everything, but it will offer you a wider lens on what is truly integral - and what is simply urgency or habit.
Take a comfortable seat, or stand, if that feels more energising.
Take a few breaths, spine long, shoulders light, feet or tail stable.
Without needing to change anything, observe the current rhythm, texture, flow.
Draw your right palm to your heart-space, and your left index and middle finger to the space between your brows. Feel both areas spread, with each inhale. Feel both areas relax, with the exhale.
After a few breaths, begin to sense which of these spaces feels more dominant - that is, which fills more easily with attention.
As you inhale, draw your breath towards the less-attended part. Feel it fill with presence, warmth, fullness. Exhale, and feel the opposite part soften and release. Gently pulse your breath between these two spaces, as if the stream of your breath connects two lakes.
ENQUIRY: Can you sense an evenness between the two centres? Can you sense thinking, from the heart, and sensing, from the intuitive mind? What feels urgent, in this moment? What is truly important, in the wider picture of your life?
Stay here, attention flowing between two vital reserves of attention. Allow each breath in to be full and unhurried, each exhale to be complete.
Eventually, see the two lakes of mind and heart, calm, and spacious. Gently, release your hands, perhaps into palms at heart centre (Anjali Mudra) or in connection to your body. Take a moment to receive what you have recognised. Gradually, come back to your life.
Happy practicing. We look forward to next meeting you on the mat.
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