Moving into Stillness

Last weekend I attended a wonderful yoga retreat led by Tias Little, founder of Prajna Yoga, called Stillness in Motion.  It reminded me how lovely it is to engage in yoga in a way that supports movement into stillness, compassion, and care.  Many yoga classes seem to focus more on physical fitness and perfection of form. “Go a little further. Reach for those toes.”  While this yoga practice was physical, it was primarily focused on the connection to your inner being and to whatever you deem to be your spiritual nature. The latter type of yoga can be done by anyone who breaths–open to all, no matter what shape, size, or physical ability. It is what brings about inner and outer transformation.

A quote by Pico Iyer offered during the retreat points toward the beauty of stillness and coming into relationship with ourselves.  “In an age of constant acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow. In an age of constant distraction nothing is so luxurious as paying attention. In an age of constant movement nothing is so urgent as sitting still.” What a lovely counter-message for our culture that’s driven by adrenaline and busyness.

Here are four ways you can discover how you to move into stillness by weaving yoga into your life. Discover for yourself how easily in can be to restore your mind, heart, and body to balance.

  1. Get your body on the floor once a day! If you’re at home all day this is easy. But, if you work at an office, I recommend taking a yoga mat to work and find a place to put it down once a day. Lie there for 1 – 5 minutes and notice how the strain of your day melts into the floor.
  1. Stop throughout the day and connect with the complete duration of one in-breath and out-breath. The breath is one of the most important aspects of yoga. Connecting with your breath on a regular basis off the mat will help support you in your everyday life, not just on the mat.
  1. Pick one yoga pose a day that would support your body. Check in with your body to see what would feel good to it. (e.g. if your shoulders are tight you might want to do some shoulder rolls, if your hamstrings are tight you might want to do a head-to-knee forward bend, etc.). You don’t have to do a long practice every day to benefit from yoga.
  1. Do a longer yoga practice (30 minutes to 1-1/2 hour) at least once a week. Here’s a link to yoga videos that are used in my Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction classes.  I’ve had people all over the world tell me how meditative they are, so I hope you give them a try and let me know what you think. There is even a chair version if you can’t get on the floor. 

I’ll meet you on the yoga mat. Namaste.