LESSON N. 1: YOU CAN'T CONTROL THE MIND WITH THE MIND
If you’re reading this, there is a very good chance you heard us saying this many times before: “Get into your body!”. 2020 has definitely kicked us hard, with all the challenges, uncertainty, fear, loss and life changes, keeping us in survival mode with an overloaded sympathetic nervous system.
We know and acknowledge, now more than ever, that a regular yoga practice and breathing techniques are treasures, tools and skills that help us keep our internal systems balanced, the mind clear and the heart ever loving.
Only by getting into the body and focusing on the breath we’re able to have the sufficient lucidity to break through fear & uncertainty with renewed energy & focus and still find the joy, light, love, beauty, peace, safety and opportunity that each day brings in various forms.
You can’t control the mind with the mind, but through body, breath and meditation work, you can achieve a wholesome balance inclusive of all circumstances.
LESSON N. 2: FIND THE LIGHT IN THE TUNNEL
We don’t know when this is going to pass, but we know that we gotta keep moving, shaking and evolving. It’s up to each of us to write our own story, reflect on what has happened and decide how we want to play a role in this collective sh!t-uation. The light at the end of the tunnel might still be out of sight for many, but we know that there are incredibly powerful practices that help us keep that light on even in the midst of darkness.
Three practices we’ve honed in on:
1. Being still and practicing mindfulness is key to finding balance within the environment we inhabit, no matter how inhospitable. To do so is far from easy, but every bit of worth it. Through stillness we gain the extra focus we so desperately need in these turbulent times.
2. Knowing where we come from: cultivating a connection to our own lineage, has greatly helped us making it through the toughest days. Regardless of what type of life we had, knowing and understanding the circumstances of our own history – the struggles and pain our ancestors had to go through before us – helps us go through difficult times with more ease, and shines a brighter light on all the small victories we achieve every day.
3. Cultivating a Gratitude Practice: mindfully weaving in moments of individual and collective gratitude is key to boost our energy level and immune system. “Not everything sucks!”, there is so much to be grateful for when we make time for the ordinary and appreciate things we take for granted. To give you a practical example of how we practice gratitude: you are part of our light inside the tunnel, sharing the practice with you and witnessing you evolve is our biggest reward. Your support and kindness is inspiring and our fuel to keep pressing on. For that we are deeply grateful everyday.
LESSON N. 3: SYSTEM REWIRING, AN INDIVIDUAL AND COLLECTIVE OPPORTUNITY
“In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity” said the great Albert Einstein.
This pandemic forced us to reconsider our very definition of normal both at a personal and collective level. We suddenly experienced a full stop – The Great Pause as somebody called it – followed by months of information overload, ever lasting uncertainty and growing divide.
As much as this process has been difficult and draining, it has also brought us to look at our habits and behavioural patterns from a new perspective, forcing us to look closer at ourselves and at what we’ve become. This often meant shining an uncomfortably bright light on our vulnerabilities and faults, but there is no doubt that we are now more conscious and aware of our strengths and resources than we ever were. Getting rid of old habits, fears and dysfunctional patterns that don’t serve us anymore is a fantastic opportunity this crazy year has gifted us with.
The Great Pause and everything that followed gave us the unique chance to go in “rewire mode”, giving us an unexpected opening onto becoming the better versions of ourselves, both individually and collectively. As contemporary neuroscience has shown us, rewiring is a brain process that for most people only happens in early childhood and teenage years, as our brains go through major evolutionary phases. We know that through our commitment to a regular yoga & meditation practice, we can access a brain state of neuroplasticity where rewiring becomes possible also as full fledged adults.
Given the current circumstances, and having access to the tools of yoga and meditation, we are ready to make the most out of this bonus chance to rewriting the source codes of our existence: what a great opportunity that is!
This article is part of the “Yoga Talk” series, where our teachers share their journey in yoga from a personal & intimate perspective.