Coming to my mat has always been a space to surrender, a space where I take time to connect with myself. It was on my mat that I first learned what it felt like to embody gratitude as a way of being rather than an external expression. So frequently gratitude is expressed outward, where we thank those around us or recall the things we feel blessed to be surrounded by. External practice is a deeply valuable and important mode of the expression of gratitude, and a practice of gratitude can be so much more.
Anger can be an intense emotional experience that often feels inexplicable. It can arise out of nowhere for something seemingly irrational and can feel hard to get a hold of. Experiencing anger persistently is usually a sign of stuck and unexpressed emotion. These emotions may have nothing to do with anger, but when experiences like sadness, shame, and frustration are held in the body, they can manifest as anger in our day-to-day lives.
Throughout life as we come up against challenges, we begin to seek more knowledge about how to take care of ourselves, how to understand who we truly are, and how to live a life aligned with what lights us up. We know that to feel well and fulfilled, we need access to tools, skills, and experiences that are going to support our body, mind, and spirit. We are drawn to yoga --- not only the postures, but all eight limbs of yoga --- knowing it can improve our health, help us navigate the challenges we face, and support our awakening.
A good night's sleep can make all of the difference in our emotional well-being, energy, and how we show up for the day. Unfortunately, it can feel difficult for many of us to turn off the mind's chatter and release the stress of our days enough to get a good night of rest.
Transitioning from our busy days into the evening can feel challenging for many. Even though the day is finished, the chatter of the mind and stress we carry often continues. This can make it hard to relax and especially hard to fall asleep. It is essential that we take measures to intentionally wind down the day and prepare the body for rest.
The conversation around the vagus nerve and its importance has become increasingly popular in recent years. The vagus nerve is the largest nerve in the body and is a key part of your parasympathetic “rest and digest” nervous system. It influences your breathing, digestive function, and heart rate, all of which can significantly impact your mental health.
Springtime is associated with Kapha, the dosha governed by earth and water. Some of Kapha’s gunas, or qualities, include slow, moist, cold, and unctuous. As we transition into spring, the Kapha we have accumulated over winter begins to release, causing allergies, excess mucus, and sluggish digestion if we aren’t eating or adjusting our lifestyles to assist us during the change of seasons. Kapha season can dull our digestive fire, leading to poor digestion and assimilation, bloating, and incomplete elimination.
Yoga is the practice of merging all the disparate aspects of our being into one, unified essence. In fact, the word yoga in Sanskrit means union. When we experience yoga we experience our true nature, which is unbounded and unchanging. We can understand the true nature of our being through the Seven Spiritual Laws, as disseminated by Deepak Chopra.
It is the nature of the human mind to wander. We naturally create narratives, fantasies and accumulate mental chatter as we move throughout our days. Certain factors can exacerbate mental chatter; stress, caffeine, long work days, and anxiety can all make it seem near impossible for the mind to slow down. We can become lost in the landscape of the mind and forget to return to the present moment. The present moment is our seat of power and allows us to access our innate wisdom and intuition.
One of the ways to support a healthy mind is to give it a break, and one of the best ways to give the mind a break is to practice breathwork. Breathwork brings your attention toward the breath as a focal point, taking your focus away from stressful thoughts.
Our bodies hold the stories and experiences of our past. Clearing stagnation and creating space in the body is essential for fostering mental clarity and the freedom to welcome new stories, experiences, and ways of thinking. Entering a new year is a powerful time to create intention around what we would like to create for the year ahead. It’s important to have both clarity on our desires and the space to receive what we are calling in.