A cue that I often use when teaching a forward fold is: dive in heart first, the head will follow. This is also a life cue, as is everything that happens on the mat. I have been thinking lately about how to carry this lifestyle approach into my next great adventure, which happens to be giving birth! At 43 years old and 8 months pregnant, I have had time to prepare myself for being open to what ever comes, and how it comes, but I realized that I wasn’t necessarily as prepared for what is being let go to make space for all that is coming.
As a holistic psychotherapist I know that there is a classifiable name for what I, and what we are going through as a collective. It is called adjustment disorder. It is perhaps one of the most common ‘diagnoses’ used in the mental health field. Go ahead and Google the criteria for this ‘disorder’ and you will inevitably identify with some or all of the symptoms and stressors, if not now in this moment, then at some point in your life. We all experience the joy and grief of change. Transitioning skillfully from one life experience to the next is very similar to transitioning skillfully from one yoga asana to the next.
The more present and aware we are of the physical sensations and emotions that are stimulated due to change allows us to navigate and adjust to new experiences without so much fear. Fear disconnects us from the intelligence of the heart, from our intuition and from our higher self. Fear is hardwired into our nervous system as a protection mechanism. The result of a fear inducing experience is that we fight, freeze or bolt. By being committed to a continuous yoga practice we are consistently practicing the sort of mindfulness and self soothing techniques that help us discern whether the fearful stimulus is a real or a perceived threat. Having this knowledge is having the power to respond versus react or perhaps, over-react.
Think of some common cues that we hear on the mat that are useful in a stressful situation; breathe, inhale fully, exhale completely, release your jaw, recognize where your body is in space, relax your shoulders, connect to your core, soften your gaze, and even though it is (in my opinion) very over used: open your heart! What all of these cues have in common is that they promote a sense of embodied wisdom. This wisdom allows us to gain perspective and exercise our coping skills so that our response to any given stressor is in proportion to the stressor itself. Practicing non-attachment to the things we cannot change and embracing the opportunities that lie in wait helps us adjust to the most constant thing in life, change.
Change your mind and you change your reality. This perspective shifting sort of consciousness is what is people mean when they say that you can ‘manifest your reality’. So what are you manifesting? I am manifesting a sense of joy and gratitude for the mystery of life, for what I am being gifted thru this process of creating and nurturing a life within me. I am surrendering attachment to the lifestyle that I have enjoyed and welcoming the new opportunities that will undoubtedly help me evolve toward my truest and fullest potential. I am diving in heart first and trusting that all else will follow.
Keep practicing yogis! See you on the mat 😉