Have you ever stopped and really watched a sunset? Here in Africa it’s something else. As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky turns gold, then pink and finally a deep violet. A single star twinkles amongst the silhouetted trees and everything goes still. In yoga, dawn and dusk are recognised as times for reflection, rest and rejuvenation. The perfect time for practice.
But what if it’s not feasible to stop everything and practice at the right time.
When I started yoga I had a lot of time on my hands. I’d left my day job, was in a new relationship and busy planning a family. I made the effort to rise every morning before dawn to practice asana and meditation. But when my son was born everything went out the window. Who has time for anything when you’re busy feeding, burping, changing nappies and trying to get some much needed sleep!
And aren’t we all busy with some baby or other? What about your work baby, marriage baby, social media baby, health baby or whatever baby….you feel the need to do something to manage your health and wellbeing, but the question is when, what and how?
A physical yoga practice is a perfect tool. But it does require an interest in the modality, a connection with a style or teacher as well as persistence and patience.
The practice of Pranayama ( breath work) is more accessible . Why? Because unlike the postural practice you don’t need a yoga mat on hand to do it. You can breathe anywhere, anytime. In fact you already do. You’re just not aware of your breath or what its actually doing in any given moment. Being mindful of your breath is an immediate stress reliever.
Change your breath and you change your state of mind.
My favourite breathing practice incorporates slow mindful breathing with visualisation. It comes from Laya Yoga, the practices of contemplative absorption. When you focus your mind in on one thing it pulls it out of it’s preoccupation with thoughts. When you’re no longer needing to identify or react to thoughts the whole body/mind system is at rest. It’s like experiencing the sunset on the inside. Complete peace, stillness and beauty.
For this weeks practice I invite you to join me in a simple breathing visualisation called the Equalising Breath.
With great respect…Rachel