Hard to stop sometimes in these busy, modern lives of ours, isn't it? This on its own brings guilt trips and stress...but are we just making excuses to keep the momentum going? Maybe we're a little afraid of stopping for fear of what might be waiting there? Are you already considering moving on from this Blog (please don't yet!), other things invading your thoughts with 'URGENT' written boldly above them? They may be needing your attention, but so do You! So, if you can... stop a while longer. Below is a very short video of my favourite Twist, which we did this morning in practice. If you can pause just for You for these 3 minutes, give it a go - you won't regret it! Just a tiny pause in your busy day/week/life... if you find 2 or 3 more minutes to give You, then read on...
Felt good, didn't it? Don't worry if you had trouble keeping the 'Urgent' thoughts from invading your space, this comes easier with practice! Did it feel really decadent and self centred though? We are conditioned to feel like this nowadays, like caring for your health, physically and mentally is just not important enough to stop for. Society is playing its part in desensitising us to our own needs. Ultimately however, it is up to us individually to look after our Self. By taking the moment to lie down in the Twist, giving your body and mind a bit of your attention, you have made that decision to look after You and begun to take action. By coming to Yoga practice every weekday with MBY, you are well on the way to realising how important this is and doing something about it!
MBY's new Summer Pop Up began on Wednesday this week, which was a bit odd, but actually fitted in well with the 3 class titles of 'Focus', 'Change' and 'Pause'. All 3 of these words can be a little scary for many of us.
Perhaps you would argue that Focus is something you do all the time every day; on work, family and getting from A to B.
You focus on every tiny important aspect, like a juggler perfecting their skill, to keep all the balls up in the air. Focussing is a very active ingredient in your life... but when did you last bring your focus to You? All it takes is a moment on or off the Yoga mat to close your eyes, turn off all visual external stimulation and let your attention move inwards. Don't be scared. Just watch your breath come and go. Maybe you feel better taking a little control back initially? Focus and take control of your breathing by slowing it down, smoothing it out, inhaling and exhaling through only your nostrils if comfortable. No need to navel gaze or make any judgement calls, just focus
on the Breath with your eyes closed. So simple yet so powerful. Practicing this when the outer world feels overwhelming is incredibly beneficial and calming. Just a few minutes focussing on You through your breath. This is Yoga by the way!
In class we extended our Focus into our Asanas/Yoga Poses, choosing personally what to focus on - whether a physical aspect e.g. feet placement, hip alignment, shoulder position, breathing patterns, or the mental/emotional aspect in watching our reaction to what we were doing
- noticing any gritting of teeth! By coming to class, Yogis have already realised that focussing on Self is game changing. It's not selfish, rather quite the opposite. You become more aware of You and your relationship to the world around you and are a better person for it.
After finding this awareness Change can then be activated. If there's a problem at work, you focus, brainstorm maybe, in order to realise what changes need to be made to correct the situation. So why not use this process for You. Focus..... notice any sticky habits ( Samskara in Sanskrit!). Are you caught up in incessantly performing rituals that might be stopping you rather than helping? These habits, good, bad or indifferent may seem to make life flow more easily, but could they be the very thing stopping your progress, making you stagnate? Maybe on focussing on you, you find you're happy with the Status Quo - that's great! However, even little changes take the dullness and staleness away that can creep in with routine. A different perspective on life might appear and who knows where it will take you?!
In class we altered a few things to see how it affected us. Some changes just felt weird! Some felt good though and having had that experience we might well repeat it next time. Remember that Changes we make are not necessarily irreversible. Take little steps at a time if you're not certain you'll like them. Some might be so small that only you will notice the difference, but from little things big things grow!
Lastly this week we 'Paused'. Pausing seems to have been a big part of everyone's life in the last 18 months. There has been understandably a negative feeling attached when it's been forced upon us. The slowing down, however, once we accepted it, gave us time to focus on what was important in our life. Constantly moving, many of us had been missing what mattered most. In class, after a couple of strong practices, which makes us more aware of our physicality and Being, we ventured into slow and stretchy, pausing to get a deeper sensation in the mind and body and a whole sense of Self. A Pause can be very PAUSE - itive! A Pause is a space in time. It allows us the time to reflect, to connect, to be grateful....to look inward. So don't forget about You.... Pause, Focus and Change some of the habits that just need to go! You'll be stronger, more content and better for taking the time to do it ( on and off the mat!).
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