Smiling, Breathing, Letting Go...
Recently, I was travelling across London on the tube to go to a yoga training day. I was feeling a bit nervous as I was going to a part of London I didn't know, to a venue that was new to me, and on a course where I wouldn't know anyone. On the journey, in an attempt to calm my nervous anticipation, I was reading an article on mindfulness. In it I came across a short meditation poem by the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, and it was just the thing to calm my jittery feelings. The poem was the verbal equivalent of Rescue Remedy, and I found even on a busy tube journey I could take the poem's advice and breathe and smile. Also, it was a gentle reminder to stay in touch with my breathing, my body, and my feelings, and to smile! It did the trick, by the time I arrived at the venue I was still slightly nervous, but I felt more open to enjoying the new experience and getting the most out of the day. Here is the meditation poem:
Breathing in, I smile
The beauty of a simple, meditation poem like this is that it can be used in everyday situations to induce a sense of calm. I've also been using it in my own yoga home yoga practice and with my yoga classes. My favourite use for it, in my own yoga practice, is to silently repeat it whilst I'm holding a yoga pose. I particularly enjoy using it in Sphinx Pose, Supine Butterfly Pose, or Hamstring Stretch. I find I can relax into the intensity of the stretch whilst I repeat the phrases, smiling, and breathing. Bliss!
After my initial nerves about the yoga day in London, I actually really enjoyed the day and learnt a lot. The tutor reminded us of how yoga standing poses build up both physical and emotional strength and prepare us for the emotional opening we encounter in the back bending poses. This has prompted me recently to reintroduce more standing poses into my own home practice and my classes. Below is a delicious standing sequence I've recently rediscovered and that we've been using in class. It is Sage Rountree's Parking Lot Yoga sequence. Enjoy!
This occasional blog is designed to share my yoga class handouts, resources, and tips with my yoga classes.