”Self-reflection is the school of wisdom.” – Baltasar Gracian
Weekly Focus: Svadhyaya (self-study)
Svadhyaya, “one’s own reading” or self study — the act of turning inward + analyzing the Self. Who are we? What do we value? What do we hold to be true? As we take the time to turn inwards + reflect, what do we see internally, what internal light shines amidst the darkness of winter? How does this darkness allow our inner light to glow more brightly?
After expanding our awareness + our consciousness, we can now zero-in on what’s happening inside of us. Just as nature retreats around us, Winter becomes a time of quiet solitude for many. This opens the opportunity to study the self + become more familiar with who we are at the center of our center.
Active Pose of the Week: Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog)
Down-dog gives an opportunity to take your gaze literally to the Self — look towards yourself + consider.
To take down-dog, step your feet 3-4 feet from your hands, keeping the hands connected to the floor. Hands are about shoulder-width distance + feet about hips-width distance. Pike your hips up + away from your hands, creating a triangle shape with the body. It is OK to keep a soft bend in your knees + the heels may not touch the floor. As you push firmly into your hands look back to your thighs or belly button, press your chest through your arms.
Passive Pose of the Week: Balasana (child’s pose)
Find stillness + calm, creating space to reflect in your child’s pose. Try holding this pose for several minutes while consciously deepening the breath. Notice what thoughts come up for you.
Child’s pose is often offered as a position of rest, however this may not feel restful to every body. Utilize props as need — from a tabletop position, take your knees wide, bringing the big toes to touch. Press the hips towards your heels. If your seat feels suspended in the air, bring blocks, a stack of blankets, bolster or pillow, whatever you need underneath the seat to offer support. Hinge from the hips, allowing the belly to drop towards the thighs. Arms might reach forward in front of you, or back alongside the legs. As your chest drops towards the floor, you may rest one cheek or the forehead to the mat. Ground feel far away? Add a blanket or pillow under the head, bringing the floor closer and creating a softer surface to lie on.