Photo: Kim Long Photography
What happens when you turn off your radio in the car, shut down your computer and cell phone? What happens when your spouse is out of the house, the kids are on a play date and you find yourself alone? Most likely, you fill the silence. Are you able to sit down without turning to a distraction to just be? Most of us call a friend, pop onto facebook for a while, flip channels, or even read. When are you quiet and still? In my teaching, I have consistently found the practice of stillness to be the most challenging part of yoga for new students. I want to let you in on a secret…stillness is where all the answers lie to any question in your life. You just have to lean in gently….and listen.
Many people tell me they are afraid of stillness and quiet. It’s easier to be busy and active but they know they would benefit from the practice of stillness. How do you start learning to be comfortable with quiet and with yourself? First, you have to welcome the possibility that you might feel uneasiness in the beginning. Letting go of whatever the urge is that makes you want to move can sometimes be difficult. It might be uncomfortable physically and mentally, but you will work into it just as you would work in a new pair of tight leather shoes. Over time, you’ll stretch into the space and into the silence . You’ll begin to feel the space around you become lighter and more comfy. There is a shift that occurs in this space of silence, it happens almost immediately when you sit with yourself. It’s the opportunity to simply be alive and be aware of your place in the world.
It’s vital that we check in with ourselves once in a while. We’ll call a friend to see how they’re doing, but how often do we check in with ourselves? Seems simple enough, but there are so many distractions in our lives that keep us from ourselves. When we neglect to “check-in”, the body can quickly become imbalanced. Quiet offers us the opportunity to reflect upon what’s happening in our lives and to physically check-in with what our body is trying to tell us. The body might be trying to get our attention by whispering to us through fatigue or pushing us forcefully with pain, or nagging at us through other ailments. This turning-inwards helps us to recognize that steps might need to be taken to help ourselves before an imbalance becomes a more serious condition.
Learning about ourselves through the practice of stillness creates an awareness that is crucial for how fully we experience our life. If we never stop to reflect upon how far we’ve come or where we’d like to be as we move through life, what kind of life have we lived? We are responsible for our own life. That life eventually becomes our legacy and our personal story. It was in my own moment of self-reflection that I created a saying you’ve probably heard once or twice if you’ve been to my classes, “Remember to breathe into each moment that makes up such an important part of your unique story”. You create your life. Bringing the breath into your experiences (breathing evenly and with awareness) will enhance every part of your life and add richness to your story.
Here’s to you and your ever-evolving story! I know it’s a good one! BREATHE….