Out of all the environments we explore on a weekly basis, we show up to our workspaces perhaps most frequently. That might be a home office as the shift to virtual workspaces has been abundant in the past few years, or you might be transitioning back to an office or in-person setting. Whatever your workspace looks like, often when you arrive there it’s assumed that the only thing we can do is our work function. Which means that self-care sits on the back burner as we prioritize our production.
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.
In the same way that we see leaves fall away from the trees, this season is the time for us to shed some of the clutter we’ve picked up over the course of this past year. We’re well into Vata season by now and this airy energy tends to leave us feeling as if we are a part of the fallen leaves, drifting in the wind. Both fortunately and unfortunately, this feeling is completely normal. If you’re experiencing anything that feels overwhelming or ungrounding, you are not alone.
As the brisk air of autumn arrives, we are reminded that vata season is approaching. The cycles of nature move in different forms and at different times depending on where you are located. Vata season is present during the time of year that most embodies the qualities of the vata dosha: dry, airy, light, cold, changeable, and mobile.
We live in a world that is largely created using straight lines, boxes, and sharp angles. We see it in the steel frame of a new building being built, in the grid structure of big city streets, even on our highways, outlined in colors and dashed lines. It’s no wonder we crave routine in our daily lives, the world we live in guides us towards structure at every turn. When we get caught up in structure and hard lines it’s easy to forget the natural ebb and flow that we embody.
Breathwork and pranayama are having their moment in the sun right now. The practices of pranayama, which date back at least 5,000 years to the time of the Hindu Vedas and Upanishads, are being used to treat anxiety, depression, cardiac disease, and now COVID brain fog as well. Modern breathwork teachers such as Wim Hof, Dr. Konstantin Buteyko, and others, have popularized simple breath protocols that have proven to have very positive results, free from complicated jargon and without the need for fancy equipment.
Growing up in the “City That Never Sleeps”, I had always equated strength with energy. I always assumed the more “life” you brought to a relationship, project, idea or work, was always directly connected to how much drive you possessed. And, in order to get that “drive” or even maintain it one had to work hard; real hard.
In yoga, we learn this sacred practice is a practice toward the liberation of mind, body, and spirit. We learn that true liberation arises from the unification and embodiment of our true nature, the Self that exists beyond space and time, eternally connected to Divine Source Consciousness. And yet, as powerful as the practice of yoga may be, many of us can still feel restricted, unsafe, and many other things that do not quantify a sense of freedom.
There are two ways you can live a yogic lifestyle. Learn about the lives of the renunciate and householder and consider how you might begin to observe your journey and which path speaks to you.