This has been a challenging year. I sit here and write at 5 am after a sleepless night. I cannot settle my mind. When I do close my eyes and fall asleep, I incessantly and unconsciously release all of my stress by grinding my teeth so much that my dentist suggests I wear a nightguard.
Words and Memes enter my mind, which creates even more guilt and stress.
“The obstacles on the path are the path.”
“No matter what life presents me, I can work with it.”
Guess what? I am trying to work with it, and it is not going that well.
How do we hold space for ourselves, our family, and our yoga practice during these times?
I think about the words, “Thanks” and “Giving,” and I feel a sense of comfort. I reflect on the threads of my life and how those same threads can piece together a lovely tablecloth, set with food, laughter, love, and sometimes grief. Some years, those threads are a bit more worn, and some years, they are a bit more shiny and new. Yet, year after year, we show up with one another to express gratitude, provide love, and appreciate all that we have and are.
In the book, “Just One Thing: developing a buddha brain one simple practice at a time,” Rick Hanson, Ph.D., suggests,
“Ask yourself: How could I pull my time, money, energy, attention, or worry away from stones that will never give blood or houses built on sand-and instead, shift these resources to where they will actually make a difference?”
“Then, take an inventory of the key strengths and other resources you do have. Your circle of influence is probably a lot bigger than you think it is.”
Also, think about actions you could take inside of your mind.
Whenever we get into our narrative, we have the opportunity to get out by offering our support to those truly in need. This year, my children and I will volunteer the day after Thanksgiving to help End Hunger in New England by boxing up food for the homeless. My business of Amberbyoga will donate a portion of merchandise proceeds to these same efforts.
On our yoga mat, we have the opportunity to balance our Autonomic Nervous System. This system is the primary mechanism in control of the fight or flight response.
Through our breath and posture, we can begin to take voluntary action towards otherwise unconscious action in our bodies, resulting in voluntary control at a certain level. This translates off our mat as Seva.
Take some time this Thanksgiving to thank yourself for all that you give those in your life through your yoga practice. When you take a seat at the table this year, offer gratitude to the threads that have brought you to this moment. Even when we feel like that thin piece of yarn, we can comfort ourselves in knowing that the same thread is meant for sewing.
Certified Yoga Teacher
E-RYT 500, Yoga Alliance
YACEP, Continuing Education
Photo 2 & 4-Renee Ricciardi
Photo 3-Stephanie O’Neill
If you liked this blog, check out our other blogs like our "Inside the Coronavirus, I see Hope", "Way out of our Comfort Zone", "8 Ways to Show Yourself Some Kindness", and "The Secret of Self-Care: Approach over Action"