Opening yourself through resting – a lesson for Christmas
This week – the week leading up to Christmas – in invariably crazy. No matter how well organised we’ve been, buying and wrapping gifts early, metering out our over-eating and over-drinking, we still end up tired, rushed and a bit frantic in these last few days before the big Kahuna! (it’s not just me, right???)
This week has been particularly trying for me, as lots of non-Christmas related things have also been cropping up, as I do some deeper therapeutic work on myself as well as juggling some insecurity issues being raised by a particular relationship at the moment. Challenge, struggle, analysis, heat (here in Australia), sleeplessness, busyness, tiredness, pressure, crappy food, insecurity – looks like a quagmire of unhappy days.
And it could well have been! Well, to be honest, it was, for a day or two. But I am thankful to say, all these years of therapy, self help and striving to understand myself and the human psyche has done me some good! I knew, when all else gets unstable, to step back and look at any areas of my life, my home, my relationships, my mind, that I can stabilise quickly and calmly.
I have cleaned and tidied. I have de-cluttered. I have planned my timelines so I’m not rushed. I have taken walks and I have connected with people who I know will understand and support me. When I have had to keep appointments and see people who are not particularly supportive, I’ve been honest and open about my limitations, at the start of the conversations. I have not been hard on myself and not been self-critical when things were of a lesser quality than I had hoped. I am doing my best, that’s all I need to do.
But by far the most impactual thing I have instigated this week, to stabilise and re-group, has been morning yoga. I love Chaz Rough’s video podcast “Yogamazing”, available through iTunes. He does short (15-25 min) yoga classes, on a theme, which are free to watch, easy for the novice and simple.
Just a few minutes of connection to my body through yoga each morning has really, really helped lift my energy and mood. It’s like I remember my body every morning. And I’m someone who wakes up stiff and creaky in my joints and muscles, so the stretch and opening of all that tension, at the start of the day, really, really makes a difference.
This morning, Chaz said the following statement, which may be his or it may be a well known yoga principle. As we were getting into the resting pose to finish the class, he said “Open yourself through relaxation”.
The phrase stuck with me. Life is so busy and tense right now, it’s easy to get very closed of and self protective, very “just put your head down and get through it”. And this doesn’t feel good.
I love the idea that relaxation is the gate to openness. Lying there, on my yoga mat, in my living room, I consciously felt my body relaxing after the work of the yoga poses, I consciously felt the muscles fall with gravity and my body press against the floor. Conscious relaxation.
And it’s true, as I felt that happen, I felt far more open, far more positive, far more free.
As we race toward the big Day, and then trudge through often difficult family gatherings, with days that are sad or painful for some who’ve lost loved ones or are alone over Christmas, I encourage you to jump on to Yogamazing – or whichever yoga class you prefer, and do some body connection, ending with conscious relaxation. Open yourself to love, to freedom, to lightness of spirit, by relaxing. Make this your daily, and even mindfulness-inspired hourly practice, during these rushed and stressful days. Open through relaxation.
Have a beautiful Christmas, full of inner peace and connection to the Love that is within all things.