“Quiet the mind and the soul will speak.” – Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati
Weekly Focus: Dhyana (meditation)
Winter has a tendency to bring distractions to our mind — we may find ourselves tempted by TV, our phones, our computers. Can we work to stay focused + try to stay in “sleep mode”? As nature works internally at this time of the year, so do we, giving our minds time to just be. With practice, we might find that our focus + concentration takes us to deeper levels of meditation. The mind is at ease + the thoughts may drift past quietly. If we happen to engage with a thought, we notice + let it pass through. Perhaps our meditation practice may now begin to lengthen. We tend to have less activity + buzz in the Winter, leaving time to find a longer meditation, a more frequent meditation. This deeper + clearer level of meditation may start to stir the pot, allowing subconscious thoughts to bubble up from deep beneath surface. What is coming up for you?
Active Pose of the Week: Sirsasana (supported headstand)
Ground your head (literally) connecting your crown chakra to the earth. Headstand offers the perfect opportunity to maintain and sustain focus – if headstand comes easily to you, commit yourself to holding this position for a specific count of breaths. In supported headstand we support the back of the head with our hands, using our forearms on the ground to help stable us. There are 1000 and one ways to headstand — and they don’t all mean getting your feet into the air. Two great options: from dolphin, cradle your head into your hands and get used to feeling pressure here. From a wide leg fold, widen the feet as much as you need to for the crown of the head to reach the ground (or a block, or a stack of blankets). Either position will get the head below the heart and help you get used to the feeling of pressure on the head. Be sure to engage your shoulders so that we don’t dump into the neck. And while there aren’t many things we will say “don’t do” to, please do not jump your feet into the air for headstand. Only lift your legs with control.
Passive Pose of the Week: Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (pigeon prep pose)
Pigeon Prep is a DEEP hip opener which can bring up a lot of distraction — sensation, emotion etc. Allow this pose to be a practice in keeping focus on your breath despite distraction. Typically, this pose is offered in a prone (belly facing the ground) position. However, if this position brings pain to the bent knee or just doesn’t feel accessible, you might consider taking pigeon prep from a seated or laying back position. If you start to recognize those distractions, say to yourself “inhale + exhale” to let them pass on by.