Thursday 6th April - How Yoga Helps You To Create Space in Body, Mind and Spirit
You probably hear the word ‘spacious’ quite frequently if you go to yoga classes regularly. We teachers tend to say it quite often as it’s such a great way to describe how yoga can help us to feel.
In the physical practice we create space in the body – in the joints, the fascia and the muscles. We create space to breathe more deeply by stretching and opening the ribcage, the chest and the tissues of the lungs. When we stretch like this, slowly and gently, we feel a sense of freedom. We open up the tight, closed parts of us that have been hunched or folded for long periods of time as we sit slouched in chairs, with toes and feet encased in shoes, and hands and fingers which are constantly busy and rarely straightened out. We start to notice when we are clenching the jaw or tensing the shoulders and then we can do something about it. Our yoga practice shows us how to unravel and expand. It feels good. The body loves it and wants more. We feel rinsed out, light and refreshed.
On our yoga mats we are also creating space to change and grow. Each time we do a pose it can feel a little different – maybe because of some activity we were doing the day before, maybe because we have something on the mind distracting us or maybe we are fully present today, focused and feeling the sensations. Whatever the reason, we practice with curiosity and without judgement. We give ourselves space to feel the pose just as it is. Over time and with repetition, the poses change. We get more adept, stronger and more flexible. But there’s no hurry. It’s ok that it takes a while. Yoga asks us to challenge ourselves, with poses and sequences that take us out of our comfort zones. We practice again and again and we start to believe in ourselves a little bit more, in our ability to deal with whatever comes along. It feels good. The spirit loves it and wants more. We feel grounded, capable and adaptable.
And of course we quieten the mind too. We create space between the thoughts, space to just be. No demands, stories or criticism – just this body moving and breathing. Just this. It feels good. The mind isn’t quite so keen to be quiet - it likes to be busy and sometimes resists. But the body and the spirit love it and want more. The mind gets used to it after a while and stops struggling and relaxes. Then we feel clear, quiet and focused.
And all of this lightening and brightening that happens on the mat starts to spread outwards into life off the mat. We create space in our lives for yoga, making it a priority to unroll the mat and move and breathe in spite of all the other things that are going on in our busy lives. We know it is important and it makes us feel better, and we love it and how it makes us feel, and we want more. Our growing awareness helps us notice when things are a little ‘off’ - when we need to take some things out of the diary to allow us a little more ‘me’ time. We notice when we’ve got a little static and stuck in a routine and then we can change things up a bit. We notice when we’re a little too cluttered in the head and when we’re a little too cluttered in our surroundings. And when we notice this we can adjust and create space. We create space in our lives to live more fully. And that feels good. The mind, body and spirit love it and want more and we feel a growing sense of freedom and ease and contentment.
And that’s how yoga helps us to create space in body mind and spirit. It’s magic.
Creating Space in Your Home
At this time of year my thoughts often turn to spring cleaning. This year I’m going one step further and having a really good declutter too. 6 years ago my family and I minimalised our lives when we moved into a caravan while our house was being built. Some of our stuff, mainly furniture, went into storage, some we squeezed into the caravan with us and the rest of it went either to be recycled or to the tip. But time passes and cupboards fill up and now, in spite of the fact that I have more space to live in than I’ve ever had before, I’m feeling the need for another big clear out!
I’ve been meaning to do it for a while but I’ve been putting it off. I know it’s a challenging thing to do. It can be time-consuming and emotional when you’re clearing out stuff. But I also know it feels so good when it’s done – it’s that sense of freedom and lightness again!
Does this sound familiar? Have you been meaning to clear out your wardrobe/medicine cabinet/filing tray for ages too and never seem to get round to it either? Want to do it together so we can encourage each other? Next week, starting Monday 10th April I’ll be running a 7 Day Decluttering Challenge which might just help you to get started, and finished, with some clearing out that you’ve been meaning to do. It’s a very similar format to the 7 Day Healthy Habits Challenge that I ran at New Year - here’s how it’s going to work….
You’ll sign up to the challenge by clicking the link below, and each morning for 7 days I’ll send an email to your inbox with your ‘Task for the Day’. Each day we’ll focus on a different room of the house. There will be two options for you to choose from, depending on how much time you have available – the 15 minute Hot Spot Challenge where you’ll set a timer and tidy a small area for 15 minutes, and the Clean and Clear Challenge where you’ll spend a longer amount of time and give the area a full declutter. I'll provide motivation and guidance along the way and, by the end of the 7 days, I hope we’ll have done some seriously satisfying sorting!
There will be plenty of motivation and tips along the way with guided meditation videos too, plus support and connection with each other in the private Facebook Group.
I’d love to have you join me on this project so, if you want to create some space in your home and your life and enjoy the feeling of being clearer, lighter and more spacious, please click the link below which will take you to the sign up page.
This Week’s Recipe… A Simple Green Juice
I’m doing a little adjusting to my food and drink intake this week too. Clearing out the crap (too much bread over the weekend – yummy but not nutritious!) and bringing in more that's fresh and light! This simple 4-ingredient green juice has more vegetables than fruit so therefore there’s less sugar - even fruit contains sugar, albeit natural sugar so I'm being mindful of that too.
You will need:
Two large handfuls of spinach
Half a cucumber
A slice of lemon
Put all the ingredients through a juicer and into a glass and enjoy.
If you don’t have a juicer you can make a smoothie in a blender instead – here’s a guide from www.simplegreensmoothies.com to help you get started ...
This Week’s Advice from a… Prairie where there is lots of space and light...
This Week’s Musical Offering: is a beautiful piece of music from the film the Thin Red Line. It’s called Light and it’s by Hans Zimmer. It’s a lovely track to accompany your peaceful and spacious Savasana.
This Week’s Video… is an old clip from the 2015 International Yoga Day but it is inspiring and uplifting and fits with this week's theme of creating space and light ...