You may have heard your yoga teacher share that the true essence of yoga is one of union, the Sanskrit term ‘yog’ meaning to yoke - but how does this apply to our everyday life? In a world where we all seem so connected yet in reality sometimes couldn’t be further apart, it is more important than ever.
The current pandemic situation has created a lot of time and space to really connect with ourselves and our inner wisdom, and spend a lot of time alone with ourselves. This can be extremely uncomfortable, especially initially, but yield so many invaluable treasures as we begin to unravel our thought patterns and actions, noticing habits and tendencies we’ve created out of necessity or desire as coping mechanisms or shortcuts to be able to function out in the world.
Being connected with yourself creates a foundation from which the rest of your life can flourish. When you feel connected to yourself you’re in tune with the natural ebb and flow of your desires (mind, body, soul) and able to make executive decisions in your best interest.
But how do we become more connected with the self?
Like all good relationships, by nurturing the relationship with yourself with patience, love, time, space and compassion. How to spend time with yourself? Well, what activities do you enjoy?
Walking, singing, dancing, knitting...whatever activity brings you to the present and keeps you there, even momentarily, suspending the mind from it’s usual mulling of incessant chatter, can be your meditation.
You don’t have to sit cross legged with your eyes closed to meditate - any activity done with complete, single pointed awareness can be your meditation.
Yoga: Providing You With Tools to Anchor
That said, sitting and meditating can be a wildly illuminating process. Alongside a regular yoga practice (which is a moving meditation) my sitting meditation practice has transformed my life. I think of my daily morning meditation like mental flossing, or defragging a computer. Some days I’m able to find one or even a few moments of crystal clear clarity and spaciousness...other days I’m fighting falling asleep or the melodrama of the everyday swallowing me whole...but that’s life.
Simply committing to the practice and showing up for yourself everyday is a huge act of self care and commitment to being the best that you can be (and this is subjective - read The Four Agreements for a reminder on doing your best). One of my favorite yoga teachers called meditation ‘dating yourself’ which I love - if we’re not comfortable being alone with ourselves how can we have healthy relationships with others without it slipping into being codependent?
Making Shapes - Asana
"Don’t use the body to get into the pose, use the pose to get into the body." Bernie Clarke
The other main tool I use for staying connected with self is my asana practice. Although from the outside asana may look like simply contorting your limbs into shapes on a rubber mat, asana practice can help facilitate a deeply nurturing process of moving back towards ourselves, peeling away the layers of ego and returning to a truer essence of the real us.
By maintaining a single pointed focus on the pose and controlling the breath we are helping to still the chattering mind, letting go (even briefly) of ruminating on past events or made up future scenarios and are anchored in the present moment, which can be a wonderfully liberating thing. Does the mind still start to wander? Yes, of course, but if we can find even a window of clarity in the mind amidst an otherwise stormy or cloudy day then what a gift.
Below are some journal prompts you may find useful around connection with some example answers/starting points - journaling can be a hugely supportive tool when it comes to self awareness & soothing which I’d highly recommend.
How do you stay feeling connected to yourself? Drop a comment below if you’d like to share - I’d love to hear from you & learn and grow together.
Wishing you all a sense of love & connection in all ways.
P.S. If you'd like to learn more about meditation and how it can have a beneficial impact on your life, as well as foster a sense of connection with the wider community you are very welcome to join our upcoming Book Club on Wednesday 27th Jan from 8-9pm based on 'The Untethered Soul' by Michael A. Singer. Click here for more info.
Light a candle or some incense, take a few deep breaths, set a timer for 10 mins and get started...
Feeling connected with myself feels like...
Knowing when my body wants to eat/move/rest
Being able to communicate clearly and easily with friends and loved ones
Being able to manage work commitments and boundaries
Feeling disconnected with myself feels like...
Overwhelm, being unable to make steps in any direction.
Feeling overly/easily influenced by social media.
Being unable to manage everyday tasks.
The more connected I feel with myself the more I...
Am able to express myself authentically.
Am able to find joy, grace and ease in all that I do.
Am able to create healthy relationships with others.
The less connected I feel with myself the more I...
Numb with comfort eating, over sleeping.
Am prone to projecting, gossiping, worrying.
Am unable to maintain healthy relationships with others.