A Calm Mind in the Palms of Your Hands
Any teachers out there? Health care providers? Massage therapists? Parents?
If so, has anyone ever turned to you after a session or important conversation, practically in tears, and said,
"This is what I need!"?
If you're like me, that is just about the best thing you could ever hope to hear in an exchange with another. It goes straight to my heart to know that what I've shared has that kind of impact on the quality of their life. I've been teaching yoga and meditation for 24 years, and I was an art educator for many years prior to that. In all of those years, all of those exchanges, I've received a lot of feedback. "I loved your class!" is certainly nice to hear, but when someone has truly taken in what they need--I couldn't ask anything more.
In my case, I sense the underlying need met comes down to a sense of calm. Calm is the very mindset of yoga. Personally, I'm not in the yoga teacher game to stretch hamstrings (though that is a good idea). It is the yoga mindset that I'm after. Calm seems to be my yoga "product." A sense of calm is often the result of listening to the inner wisdom of our own body and mind. In this state of being, we gain agency over our mind, and reconnect with our authentic Self. We find a feeling of resonance, of resilience.
But how do we get from chaos to calm? Here's a case study. I have a friend, let's call her Barbra.* She grew up with a rather shallow resilience reservoir. Recently, she was nearly rendered asunder by both internal and external circumstances. Parts of her felt depression to the level of despair. In the midst of that, another part, anxious about not feeling heard, literally overwhelmed her into a puddle of fears and tears. In that tremulous moment, her resilience reservoir was all but breached.
Fortunately, she remembered that she had the resource of yoga. In order to recalibrate in that moment of groundlessness, it was essential that she turned to the simplest of practices.
The last thing she needed was to work hard at finding ease. What was called for were practices to loosen tension, and to ease her mind into an effortless, soft, smooth rest. When we remember our yoga, we realize we can find calm ... right in the palms of our hands.
In order to access the relief of a calm mind, it helps to first clear out the bric-a-brac of the mind and create some space.
Otherwise, we may continue to feel stuck in a whirlpool of exhausting thoughts. I've found slow, mindful movement, a few mindful breaths, and journaling in dialogue with those overwhelming thoughts, or "parts of ourselves" to be extremely helpful. The fact of the matter is, those parts are taking up residence in our mind to try to help us on some level. If we take the time (and courage) to listen to them, those thoughts more than likely have a valuable message, even a roadmap to spaciousness and groundedness.
I sense this is what people are accessing when I hear "this is what I need" at the end of class. It is the magic of yoga that people can feel this way after just an hour. When we carve out a little more time for a practice of yoga and self-discovery, the effects are exponentially deeper and more enduring. I encourage you to give it a try.
Curious about exploring with me? I have upcoming opportunities!
The Refuge of Yoga: Grounding Practices for Restless Times
A Yoga Mindset and Yoga Nidra Workshop with Barbra Brady
Saturday, April 1, 1:00-4:00pm
Sonoma Yoga, Sonoma
An in-person workshop of creative inquiry, simple movement, yoga nidra, and the support of sangha, or "good company." Rekindle your curiosity, reclaim your luminous Self, and step into a peaceful, inward flow of awareness to grant space for refuge.
$65. Register and pay through Sonoma Yoga.
Second Sundays Satsang
Online, 8:00-9:30am Pacific, every second Sunday
"Satsang"is a gathering to explore spiritual reflection under the guidance of a teacher. In these monthly sessions, all are the teacher, as participants are invited to bring their own interests and curiosities about all things "yoga" to the table. We'll enjoy movement, meditation, relaxation, and discussion as vehicles to truly master your inner world and be more effective in your outer world.
$25 per session or $65 for a bundle of three
Sign up here:
I also continue to offer two weekly in-person classes a week at blue door yoga & wellness.
Sonoma, you can join me for Gentle Yoga & Yoga Nidra on the following Sundays, 4:30-5:45:
April 2, May 14, May 28, June 11, June 25, and July 2.
*Names not changed to be completely transparent.