In a world where we’re increasingly expected to respond to messages, situations and people within seconds, when and how can we gain some space and quiet?
We have to create it. We have to make it a conscious choice in our day to become still. Our busy-ness is a habit. Breaking a habit and creating a new one takes patience and staying power. Self discipline. The Sanskrit (Indian) word we use in Yoga is Tapas – encompassing qualities of determination, trust, tenacity – not giving up.
Autumn and Winter are perfect times to create a routine of slowing down. By doing this we can combat the stress that leads to “burn out”, fatigue, insomnia, and often illness. Taking time to slow down, to rest, creates better functioning internal organs (particularly digestion), lowered heart rate and blood pressure, clearer thinking and improved sleep.
Find out more about the importance of slow >
A Sankalpa is a personal, positive, intention or resolve. Use it as a commitment to yourself to bring out the best in you.
Usually a brief set of words, present or future tense, that picks you up when life knocks you down; times of stress, change, low self esteem, overwhelm, loss, or illness, for example.
It takes thought, and usually time, to settle on a Sankalpa – it needs to be an intention towards personal growth and steadiness and to be able to span situations for many years to come.
Instead of a New Year’s resolution of, for example, “I will stop smoking”, a Sankalpa would be broader – “I will take good care of myself”. This way, we can apply it to many situations, for a long time to come; when we notice we’re saying “yes” to too many people, we’re running low on energy, we feel others are taking advantage of us, or we’re beating ourselves up over something.
What words could you say to yourself to bring out the very best in you?
Find out more about Sankalpas:
What Is a Sankalpa Practice and How Can it Help You Live With Intention?
The shift into Autumn brings windy, dry weather, falling leaves and a sense of movement - nature’s way of agitating our own, often already, agitated nature.
Yoga practices that ground and nurture us provide the perfect balance to the change of season. Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutras, recommends a state of “Sthira” (commitment and grounding) “Sukham” (ease and space) “Asanam” (our seat in the world). When we notice we’re ungrounded, agitated, we aim to slow down, strive less, take more time to notice ourselves and our place within the world around us.
We sit, stand or lie still for long enough to sense the stillness of the earth and how it offers a steady base from which to move gracefully upward and outward into the space around us. In class our poses connect us with the earth, like the roots of a tree, so that, just like the tree, we know when it’s time to gather energy back in by letting our leaves fall.
What habits could you let fall? Maybe, for example, complaining, beating yourself up, people pleasing, rushing – what are the habits you’d like to change?
Instead, to cultivate ease and quietness in our self, we track our behaviour, reactions, then, when we notice we’re complaining or beating ourselves up, we can make a choice to do something different – to give a compliment or positive word, to practice compassion – knowing we all mess up sometimes.
A Yoga practice for the Autumn becomes like closing the front door, drawing the curtains and sitting quietly by a warm fire. Time to go inside – in every sense.
Not a lover of Autumn? Reasons Why Autumn is the Best Season >