While it’s hard to fathom pain, despair and trauma as blessings, there are gifts to be gleaned from having experienced them. For instance, some of the early lessons of the pandemic were an appreciation for a slower pace of life and spending more time in nature.
mindful embodied therapy
We cannot experience the full flavor of our embodied life without dipping into the depths of anger, sorrow, joy, fear, contentment, and all the other subtle and complex ranges of emotions that lie on the spectrum of life.
This life force is known by many names. The yogis call it prana and activate it through breath and postures. Acupuncturist call it qi and balance its movement through a network of pathways. Martial artists also call it chi and learn to cultivate its mastery through years of disciplined practice.
The more I practice, the more I realize treating anxiety and depression with yoga is quite possible the best therapy there is. Why? Because yoga works at both the subtle and the gross level, allowing the body and mind to soften. Additionally, yoga quiets the daily chatter of the mind.
As a holistic practice, yoga is more than a philosophy. It’s a vibrant, embodied, living practice that increases self-awareness and deepens insight. Additionally it cultivates mindfulness, compassion, and equanimity.
A helpful way to practice asteya when you’re feeling “not enough” is to ask, “How is this mindset blocking me from enjoying what I have?” Another way to foster a sense of abundance is to reflect on what is going well in life. Don’t over complicate it. Give thanks for having a partner or loving pet, the grace of good health, or the joy of having a garden
Likely the hardest form of this practice is being true to our own heart and integrity. The constant flow of information pouring in from all sides can make it difficult to know the nature of our heart’s desire. But even when we become clear enough to recognize what is true for us, we may lack the courage and conviction to live it.
Ahimsa is a reminder to be gracious with our tender parts. This precept reminds us that nonviolence begins from within. We all come into this world with a need for love and belonging.
A year ago, I was sitting in a studio with two dozen strangers eager to become Yin Yoga teachers. I had been struck with blinding inspiration months before. In a flash, I saw how to embody deep psychological work with yin yoga. I just needed…