You have to grow from the inside out.
None can teach you, none can make you spiritual.
There is no other teacher but your own soul.
Where does nourishment begin? Hopefully at home! There are so many ways to take care of your body, mind, and spirit. I hope you have a few routines and rituals that ground you and invite you into yourself no matter where you live. In my own experience I’ve found it helpful to receive little nudges from teachers to go a little bit deeper in my home practice. These nudges help me remember that I am responsible for my own care and healing and that I am capable of health if I stop and pay attention to myself on a regular basis. Here are a few of my favorite current practices and gentle nudges to say yes to home practice! Perhaps one or all of these suggestions may help you enjoy more time at home with yourself as the weather begins to change and your body, mind, and soul prepare your inner landscape for the winter season.
1. Standing meditation. During the fall season I particularly enjoy this practice. Standing versus sitting helps my attention drop deep down into my bones and into my feet, away from my head and my busy mind. Standing meditation deepens my sense of concentration as it’s constantly engaging my core and as a result I stay warmer and alert while I meditate. I’d encourage you to start with a five-minute practice and work up to twenty.
2. Relaxed belly awareness. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, consciously breathe into your belly, letting it soften completely. Notice throughout the day when your back feels tight or your breath feels shallow and how that’s affecting your belly. When you catch yourself at work, in your car, in a forward bend, or rushing through anything, how does your belly feel? How often are you holding your belly in? Why? Every time you notice your belly is tight, say to yourself, “relax, let the belly soften all the way,” or something like that. Remember it’s often a choice whether the belly is gripped or relaxed.
3. Asana and breathing practices. This time of year I find it necessary to practice a lot! It’s so easy to lose motivation, to sleep in, or feel depressed with decreasing amounts of sunlight (if that’s an issue for you). To avoid the winter blues I am suggesting asana and breathing practices six days a week and if possible first thing in the morning before you sit down at the computer or get into your car! If it doesn’t happen in the morning, if often won’t happen. Just do it!
If you’ve lost the fire of your home practice or daily routines, try setting up a private session with a local teacher to help design a program that inspires you. Getting support makes this whole journey more fun.
Note: Please refer to the Art of Sequencing – Volume Two book for suggestions on what asanas and breathing practices are beneficial for the fall.
Melina Meza, BS Nutrition, 500-RYT Melina has been exploring the art and science of yoga and nutrition for over 18 years. She combines her knowledge of Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, whole foods nutrition, and healthy lifestyle promotion into a unique style called Seasonal Vinyasa. Her devotion to yoga and eating well, to teaching and nutritional counseling, and to traveling and experiencing different cultures combine to create a colorful and enlightening perspective from which to share that which she loves about yoga in its entirety. Meza is the author of the Art of Sequencing books and Yoga for the Seasons – Fall Vinyasa DVD. www.melinameza.com