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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Slowing down


Slow down and listen to your body. This was the message from my pranayama (yogic breath awareness)  teacher Sindar Kaur today. Often we are too busy to take the time to check in with how we are feeling or what our feelings mean. Other times we push them aside because we don't want to deal with them or simply don't notice.  It's the same with our bodies. How often do we push on when we are tired, keep eating when we are full or not listen to injuries? 

So what can we do? How can we slow down and pay attentionThe answer is simple - yoga. Do yoga and do it with the intention of slowing down and becoming aware of what you are feeling, thinking and doing. Don't just go through the motions, be present and pay attention. Ask yourself how you are feeling, observe what you are thinking. 

Yoga is far more than physical exercise, it is a spiritual practice that allows us to gain a better understanding of who we are. It is a way for us to get in touch with our bodies. Not just on a physical level but also on emotional level as well. If we do our practice with the intention to develop a better understanding of who we are, then we will become better at reading the signs that we are sent each day. Some signs will be nice and clear, while others my take a lot longer to understand. But don't let that put you off. Over time it will become easier as your awareness deepens and becomes more instinctive. 

Yoga also gives us space and stillness which enables us to see what is happening more easily. It slows us down. This is something that we all need a little more of in our lives. When we do yoga we are taking the time to be with ourselves and it gives us a chance to take in everything that is gong on in our lives. Sindar cautioned however, against trying  to sort things out once we become aware of them. She said it is much better to sit with ourself and listen to our inner wisdom. Our inner voice is often overshadowed and drained out by the much louder and dominant intellect. She said that we should not come to conclusions intellectually based on what we have been told but to listen to our heart. Pretty good advice if you ask me.  She also said that things will arise that will be uncomfortable. We may feel confused or restless but that is not a bad thing. It's just your body speaking and cleansing itself. 

So use yoga and meditation as a way to bring stillness to your life and come back to your true self. It's like an awakening. You will notice and learn more about yourself and develop a deeper understanding of who you really are.  It may not always be pretty or easy to face but if we do face the bad as well as the good we will be able to move forward and release all that does not serve us well.  There's no need to judge or criticise, we all have faults and issues.  Just acknowledge what is and listen and make changes that will help you in a healthy positive way. 

So take the time to be still and aware of what is, who you are, where your going and where you've been. And always be gentle with yourself. Do this and you will find your days will be a brighter and easier.  Enjoy!