Pet your animal, give them a treat, take them for a walk, cuddle, whatever feels good.
look them in the eye and accept that even if things are bad, they’ve still got adoration for you Read more about how my rescue dog, Tifa, helped me appreciate being sick, healing, and living day by day with courage here
Mindfulness you’ll actually like
Mindfulness Ritual Bath
When I was at my most anxious I would take a salt bath every day. My water bill went through the roof.
For you, I would suggest a bath at least once a month, once a week if you can afford it.
You can add all kinds of little details to make your own little spa at home.
It can be complicated or simple, your choice
Read my full guide on making your own ritual bath here
Mindfulness you’ll actually like
Socialize with mindfulness
You don’t have to go out to the club and buy everyone a round, but maybe you could call your mom?
learn how you can use yoga philosophy to become more confident in your social life here where I lay out the yoga rules for social skills — the yamas
10 Common Things Standing in Our Way from our future goals: why and what to do
Published July 25, 2021
Written by Rose Moore
~Yoga instructor, meditation guide, peer mental health support, artisan and tarot reader
(THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS VIA AMAZON TO THE BOOKS IN CITATIONS FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE. AFFILIATE LINKS HELP ME TO SHARE THE BOOKS I HAVE READ AND MAKE A FEW CENTS FOR EVERY SALE THANK YOU FOR UNDERSTANDING. All other links are unsponsored)
10 REASONS WE HOLD OUTSELVES BACK
What holds you back right now?
Maybe you feel ‘lazy’
Lazy is another word I find synonymous with two things: Depression and anxiety. Some people will say laziness is a character defect. Something not to aspire to. Something that puts people off. I agree of course not to aspire for laziness, but I have never met anyone who calls themselves lazy who didn’t have a lot going on inside their heads. In some cases, it is self-preservation, and others are fear based. Fear of failure, fear of losing something, perfectionism, fear of the cost are rather common. And some of these reasons stem from depression.
Fear is different than depression. When we are afraid, we are thinking about the future, about what COULD HAPPEN. How am I going to get hurt? How am I going to fail? How will I disappoint? How will I overcome?
I have heard that ‘laziness’ can also come from perfectionism. You are too hard on yourself to even start. That’s a tough pickle, but CBT guidance can help you learn when your thoughts are distorted like ‘I have to be perfect to start’ this book, the feel good handbook, is written by a doctor of psychology and is the only book you will need to learn the ins and outs of CBT on your own (affiliate link)
Depression on the other hand is past orientation and can become ball of self-preservation. We are slow, our energy is depleted, we can suffer from inflammation, and we do not want to do anything to help it. Surviving is hard enough for a depressed person, so how can they possibly go out and get it?
You need to shift your goals to your health. Depression might feel normal to you, but it is draining to your life. Some people are able to thrive with depression, but it comes at a price. So please take care of yourself you can do this by:
Doodling and coloring
Enjoy yourself even if you’re doing ‘nothing’
Learning cbt skills
Picking something to look forward to (in the past when I was most depressed I would be able to make it if I knew there was a book coming out soon or something)
Drinking enough water
Look online for free mental health resources
Find a therapist if it is within your means
Maybe self-control because you know what you want is destructive?
Drugs, sex, rock and roll. It is the Christmas list to the self of my twenties. I spent so much time doing exactly what I wanted, I neglected to ask myself, ‘well is this going to help me with my goals? Does it even make me happy?’ of course not, I didn’t even have goals! Networking became a hell of a time, getting drunk at galleries and telling women I met in the bathroom how they “are my best friends.”
Did this get me anywhere? No. Was it a hell of a lot of fun and something I do not regret? Well, yea of course. But the party did not last forever. I had been avoiding the real work I needed to do to become a fully actualized person.
I gave myself a personal evaluation when I turned 30. At a New Years party, I took a single shot of alcohol and projectile vomited on my friend’s date. I could not deny how destructive this was and I knew I had to change. The guy was nice about it when he should have left! I was only able to get the self-control to stop when I said goodbye to my alcoholic friends and got serious therapeutic help.
If you know what you want is destructive there are several steps to stop. I used a diet as example because people do it all the time, if you are trying to eat healthy work with your doc or a nutritionist! Anyway here are the steps from the The Transtheoretical Model Stages of Change
Pre contemplation – this is where you are starting to feel the negative effects of your habit
Contemplation – this is when you can identify the negative effects and how they are affecting you
Preparation – this is when you say ‘I will start my diet tomorrow’
Action – this is when you start your diet
Continued effort – this is the rest of your life, my friend!
Or you end up back in the precontemplation stage and go through it again like a samskara
Maybe you don’t know exactly what you want and its hard to focus?
Instead of saying to yourself ‘jee what do I want to do when I grow up?’ and daydreaming about the things you are deciding to cut from the list, look at this book
I agree with her system and I use it for myself about once a year to see how things are going. She does not ask you what you want, instead she asks you to think about what it is you value:
What do you love?
What gets you going?
What makes you feel unloaded?
What sparks your creativity?
What turns you on?
What disgusts you?
What could you live without? What couldn’t you?
The second half of the book is tons of exercises with questions like these. Instead of focusing in on a goal, you focus on what your values are. Once you have a concrete idea of what it is you value in the world, you will have a narrower focus on what it is you want. It’s a great first step for someone who feels lost to the ocean of opportunity.
My second recommendation, at the point where you have an idea of what you want, is to close your eyes, turn inward into meditation, and then take a few minutes to visualize your life not during the journey but when you get to exactly where you want.
What does it look like?
Where are you?
What does it smell like?
Who is there?
What objects are around you?
What are the textures around you?
Where is the sun?
As you ask yourself these things try to imagine them. The more questions you ask like this, the stronger your vision will become. At this point you may be asking if I am referring to the law of attraction. Sort of, yes, but without the mysticism.
I think the law of attraction works mostly because it helps you identify what it is you are willing to go out on a limb for. By looking to the end goal and giving it a proper visualization you can focus in on the main things which are important to you and start to work on those things.
For instance if you want to attract a car, you will probably need to know how to drive. Visualize being able to drive and you’ll likely be less scared to take the driving test.
Moms, I am looking at you. Service workers I’m looking at you. Nurses? I’m looking at you too. Single provider for family? Always being the person to reset the router…? It’s all some tough stuff when it comes to moving forward because someone is counting on you.
Well for one, people in the first category I’m looking at you. You know what it is called when you finish the sentence ‘I am (insert title)?’
That’s your ego my friend! It is not an insult to say, ‘that’s your ego.’ Instead, I refer to it as the way you describe yourself and define yourself. We all do it, its part of humanity. For example, when I hear a friend say, ‘I can’t, I’m a mother, I need to take care of them first,’ I hear my friends ego identifying with motherhood.
But she is not just a mother. By her hyper focus on motherhood, she is denying herself other facets of her inner world. To be nothing more than a mother will drive you crazy and your kids will think you’re boring at some point jk jk jk. So, if you are a person who takes care of others at your own expense the answer is easy.
Follow through with prioritizing yourself. It is important to fill your own cup before you can serve others and it will only happen if you consider yourself one of your clients. Easier said than done I know.
For those who have societal burdens
Maybe you do not have other people to look out for you and have to do everything by yourself? Maybe because of student debt? Because of a felony? Because your house burned down? Because you must take 3 buses to work on the other side of town? Because of prejudice in your community?
It is all A LOT. We did not choose the era to be born in, this is the sandbox we were tossed into.
The pressure of modern life is soul crushing for most people in my country unless you are afforded luxuries like agood public education. How can we overcome societies heavy pressure?
For those of you with looming burden finding a goal is the most important thing. Viktor Frankl says in Mans search for meaning,
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”
Maybe what you want looks so out of reach its unreasonable?
Hey you, do you also want to go to the moon? It’s been a dream of mine since I was little. I would look outside in the night sky and if I saw a satellite I would yell ‘please, aliens, take me with you!!’ Ok I still do that but I can identify satellites now, so it’s less magical.
I was watching the news recently and saw that one man decided to go to the moon and lifted off the other day! He is the richest man in the world due to his ingenuity, luck and resourcefulness. It must have been weird to become the richest man in the world. I was talking to a friend recently about how its hard to even imagine having that much money.
Most of us never will. If you do, hey send me a tip via cashapp! $royoyoga Hehe
A lot of dreams are far off reach unless you also have the same kind of resourcefulness. But the reality is most of us don’t seriously dream about going to the moon.
We can find reasonable goals by dreaming about having abundance, about living according to our dharma, we’ll be more equipped to do the actual work.
Icarus wanted to fly as high into the atmosphere as he could, but he couldn’t handle the heat of being so close to the sun. We don’t have to fly to the sun to find happiness or meaning.
For you I would suggest using SMART goals
Risks are hard and you don’t want to deal with the prospect of losing something?
I am not a gambling woman, despite having four aces tattooed onto my left foot. Risks scare me especially to put a lot of money on the line. To lose a lot of money to me is to lose a lot of security. I hold the stuff close, I’m a squirrel.
It’s easy for me to see why you wouldn’t want to make the risk.
If this is the case, guess what, there are easy ways to get what you want that won’t potentially hurt you, did you know that?
There are boring ways to get to the point where you want to be. They aren’t quick, they aren’t exciting, but they do the job.
Go the boring way. When the subject of the lottery comes up I tell people, ‘whenever I have the desire to buy a lottery ticket I put a 1$ bill into a box and at the end of the year I have a nest egg. This is more than most people will ever make from playing the lottery.
But its boring. And its not an exciting amount of money. The only thing you lost was the thrill of anticipation and the blow of losing.
When you go through all the boring avenues to get where you want to be, you may also have a better appreciation of where you end up. Many people who win the lottery end up sad, depressed, and even broke again at some point! It is a difficult transition to have such a significant lifestyle change so quickly.
Is there something you don’t want to lose? Go the boring way
You unconsciously want to stay where you are
Heres the thing about holding yourself back, it can feel good. It is nice to be the big fish in a small pond. It is nice to feel cozy all the while ignoring the hard stuff it would take to change. A lot of people won’t tell you that part. It is the easy way not just because you don’t have to do anything, but because you already know how to do it.
To this I would say, please take a moment to appreciate where you are. This is the time for a moment of gratitude. Be grateful for all the things you have achieved because you are where you want to be.
You don’t have to climb a mountain to be happy. Don’t beat yourself up because you hear societies call for ‘the bigger the better the ladder climber’ philosophy.
Winnie the Pooh is a great toaist who loves to stay still. Get inspired on how to chill with the tao of pooh. It was one of my first world religions study guide back in university and its cute too.
Maybe you would say simply, ‘myself’ and none of the above seem quite right
This was the most common answer. What is holding you back? “Myself.” One word. I hear depression in this sentiment which is my own projection. For me when I say myself, there is a ‘should’ in the statement. How can I make myself get out of my way? If ever you end up saying should, by the way, its something you’re shaming yourself about. ‘I should do this I should do that,’ no, you are doing what you need to be doing in the moment.
I don’t even know what to say to this one though, because the more time I take to empathize with this statement the more reasons I can think of for why someone would answer this way:
It’s a cop out to answering the question because of course it has to do with you, its your own life
you take a lot of personal responsibility for where your life takes you.
you see yourself as a hurdle towards your pursuits
You are mindfully deciding you do not want to go forward, you want to stay where you are
You unconsciously want to stay where you are
In the the case of A, I like the cut of your jib, partner. Thanks for the engagement. Tip of the hat to you~
In the case of B, Maybe you are too hard on yourself, maybe a perfectionist. may I remind you that this world is full of chaos, things are legitimately random, and you don’t have control of everything in your life. You have no idea what is going to come across, you tomorrow you can’t be ready for everything. Reframe your ‘I stand in my way,’ to ‘I lead the ship I’m just docked right now, ok.’
In the case of C, you are the hurdle as much as you are the jumper. This is the yin and yang of life.
D) nothing wrong with settling as long as it doesn’t make you feel empty some how! Glad you got to where you want to be, enjoy the view. You don’t have to feel bad about it.
You mistake what is in your control and what is out of your control
Because looking outward to the things you cannot control is going to drive you crazy*
My dog barks at the mail man every day as if this is the day the mail man will listen. How dare the mail man come so close to my door? This happens every single day.
She is mistaking what is in and out of her control. My dog does this a lot.
A lot of idealists want a world which is very different from the gritty ugly complicated world that is our sandbox. I was one of them once, though I’ve fermented in my years of paying attention.
I want to yell to you idealists ‘it isn’t worth it! It won’t change! It’s bigger than you or I! Try to be happy despite it all~’
But you can’t hear it from me, you must realize it yourself. I sure had to realize it. I went nearly insane hoping and campaigning for a reasonable future only to have the rug pulled from under me by the chaotic complicated world I live in.
Follow me through my monthly zine where I’ll post the link to each of my new blogs
Royo Yoga strives to tackle real life by incorporating every limb of the yoga tree into self care rituals. From yoga asana focused on emotions to guided visual meditations. One of Royo Yoga’s first values is fun, a part of our lives which can take a seat in the back due to responsibility. With my help we can nurture our inner children and really live in the present to enjoy our lives fully
Do you know the difference between pain and sensation? Do you really?
Trauma can cause dissociation
dissociation is an escape from feeling emotions and physical sensation
Yoga can heal dissociation
The difference between pain and sensation is “well, pain hurts and sensation doesn’t” – Crystal Gray
I didn’t know the difference between pain and sensation. Yoga taught me both
I didn’t know the difference between pain and sensation.
In my yoga classes I tell my students ‘don’t push yourself to the limit, go to where you feel sensation not pain.’ I learned this phrasing from my Yoga Teacher Trainer. She said it so matter of fact. As though it was obvious. Such easy advice. So, when I asked ‘how do you tell the difference between sensation and pain though?’ her answer was simple
“well, the pain hurts and the sensation doesn’t.”
Oh, duh. Thanks, crystal!
I have been dissociated from my body for a long time, probably since before I was 13. In fact, in Second grade (7 years old) I told the school therapist I had a ‘day dream problem.’ I am certain this was the first time I told a social worker what was going on. I went for one reason, for a jolly rancher. Otherwise, it would have been a complete secret. He called my mom. She said to stop looking out the window in class. It was right in front of them but invisible. My invisible monster.
My vision would lose focus, like a daydream with no substance. I was a quiet, modest girl by nature. I liked to listen to other people have conversations and learn. Because of my inherent temperament it was easy to rationalize what was going on in my head. But I was not really listening. I was escaping from the chaotic environment before me in a way no one could notice. Adults would say I was such a well-mannered girl.
Back then, in my young teens, I would self-harm to allow a sense of departure from my emotional wounds. I would not suggest this but at the time it made sense in my naïve youth. It gave me the desired affect I wanted. To feel something. To direct my attention to something. To briefly escape from something. Though it worked, I did not know what these somethings were.
These somethings followed me from adolescence and into adulthood, morphing from one vice to another. Razor blades, hitting my head against walls, alcohol blackouts, binges, purges, staying up late, sleeping during the day, meeting strangers with complete disregard for my safety. These were all normal for me. To someone else, the only word I can describe these things is pain.
But it was normal.
I never stopped feeling the pain to the point where it became my status quo. In my mind sensation and pain were synonymous. It hurt to feel something. It hurt to feel anything. But everyone wants to feel something.
So pain was what I would feel.
It was 3 years ago I realized the difference. The pain became so intense I felt like I was dying. It was frightening. It took me 4 months of constant feeling of heart attack when my aunt took me to the emergency room. Drinking her hot bone broth in the ER was when I decided to make a real change. I was told I was having panic attacks.
I would decide to try to live and begin to feel everything. For the sake of my partner, for the sake of my aunt, and for the sake of the little girl who deserved to know peace and never had the chance. I count this as my rebirth. The woman from before that day is a woman who I love dearly, but I now see her as a completely different person. We are sisters. She is my past.
It was that year I started to do yoga on a regular basis.
You learn a lot of things when you start to do yoga. Things come up. They bubble up to the surface and there is a release of emotions with every one of my classes. Some classes I would cry, others I would flash back to seemingly inconsequential moments in my life. They were consequential apparently.
Because I was had been so disconnected from my body, I started to actually see what I looked like and feel what I looked like. I think I hadn’t looked into a mirror in years so this was a huge change. I started to know what the texture of my skin, the feeling of thirst, how much space I took up (as apposed to how much I thought I took up), then more and more subtle sensations like the pulse of my heart in my thumb.
But what was sensation?
Doing yoga every day was the way I figured it out. It was when I tried hanamanasana, splits, for the first time. I was not even close to ready for this contortion. I went into the pose and my bum was two feet off the ground. Then I let go to go all the way into a pose I was definitely not ready for.
Sharp, sudden, hot, weak, swollen, pierced me in my right abductor. Ahh! I fell out of the pose immediately. I thought oh this is pain. I hadn’t hurt myself in such a while, and had started to feel myself on daily basis, I could finally tell the difference. Like Crystal had said, well, the pain hurts.
A numbness came over me in savasana . An old familiar feeling. It comes into my third eye and sweeps down into my neck where my throat feels swollen. The dissociation was back while I laid in savasana, corpse pose.
But I could feel the shift. I could name it. I knew how it came to be. And I knew it would be over at some point. By the end of my extended corpse pose I would try to walk.
It was hard. I limped for a few days and it took a whole month to heal from the sprain of my inner thigh. I was reminded of my fresh wounds of adolescence, taking weeks to heal as I would scratch at the scabs and make them bleed again. Not this time, I promised myself.
For the next couple of months, I allowed myself only beginner poses, with beginner modifications. Because of yoga, I was learning to take care of myself and heal from pain. Ever before I had never felt the need for healing.
I would be my own mother and nurse the little girl inside of me.
We are good friends now.
Have you ever been so into a movie you forget you’re in the theater and just soak up the experience? Well, when you go to a movie that’s what you intend to do. I think we should try to let those fluttering thoughts come and go without judgement, so that we can stay connected to the true present moment and into what our bodies feel in that moment.
So, I ask you this.
Do you know the difference between pain and sensation? Do you really?
When was the last time you felt pain and what did it feel like? How often do you feel pain? How long does it last? Where does it start and where does it end? What can you do in that moment to comfort yourself? Even if you don’t suffer from dissociative episodes, these might be fair questions for you.
In our busy modern lives, it is easy to focus on your mind. All your racing thoughts. ‘the kids need to get picked up’ ‘I can’t be late for my appointment,’ ‘my sibling really did a jerky thing to me,’ ‘why is the guy in front of me taking so long at checkout?’ all of these kinds of thoughts take us away from the present moment and away from our bodies.
Let them come and go like clouds, and embrace every good feeling while you can taste it. Pain is inevitable, but when you can tell the difference, you can savor the good feelings I promise.
If you like this and would like to get your two cents in, consider joining the
A trigger is a topic that floods a patient with anxiety
Sometimes trigger warnings are helpful and other times they are not
Mindfulness, Journaling, Taking notes on habits, & Tracking mood can help you figure out what your triggers are
Trigger Warnings: a contemplation
By Rose Moore, 4/21/2021
Yesterday I made a mindful observation about my unconscious habits.
I noticed I’d weighed myself 3 days in a row. You may think this is a normal practice since it is important to be mindful of your body in a multitude of ways, but to me it is a red flag. One of the outcomes you may face with mindfulness practice is that you see patterns in your life. In yoga these patterns are called samskara which means the wheel of life. You can see this wheel across cultures and eras. When we have habits, they are hard to change and likely to come back up in your life at a time when this pattern is triggered.
Can we talk about the word trigger for a second? My goodness what a loaded term.1 A trigger is an incident that creates causation. It is the instigation to your result. It is the catalyst to an event. In the pop psychology sphere trigger is a term used by people with anxiety, PTSD & phobias to describe what causes their anxiety to flare up. Many psychologists have adopted the word and are used to describe the things which can happen in life to flood a person with emotion.
It isn’t a joke, and it isn’t something to berate. If someone gives you a ‘trigger warning,’ basically a forewarning of sensitive topics ahead. It is a helpful message to prepare yourself emotionally or to leave the conversation. In academia, group therapy settings, or within even a small social book club a trigger warning can help someone with PTSD decide if they want to take the class or read the book.
One of my triggers in medical horror. As a person with diagnosed PTSD, I have learned that this trigger is my responsibility and mine alone. No one is forced to give me fair warning of medical horror, and why would they? How would anyone know that this popular horror trope, would put me into a panic attack? There is no way since I don’t talk about it normally and it isn’t on the top ten trigger list of tumblr.
So, you know what I do? If I am going to watch a movie that isn’t a romance or comedy, I google the movie first to see if there will be anything of this nature in the film. This gives me back my power, helps me filter out media, and demands nothing from anyone besides myself. It has taken a long time to get here.
I am also triggered by a pungent fabric softener scent. Now how the heck is anyone going to give me a warning for that? It is a common household item, and I would be out of line to request all my friends, family, store clerks etcetera stop using fabric softener because I don’t like it.
I think the word I’m trying to find here is entitlement. If you feel entitled to a trigger warning before all events, you will find yourself suffering often and out of control in your life. It simply isn’t going to be something you can count on, and the media you consume is not at fault.
However, I do see where the mockery can come in from normies who are not invested in self-help. Partly they may do so because of pushback to language policing, or the performative nature of a trigger warning. Whatever their reason happens to be, it is (in my humble opinion) the rude attitude which ends up dividing us, not their complaints.
For instance, one thing I see a lot on Facebook is the use of user trigger warnings followed by a picture of the triggering subject completely unmasked. There is no way to hide an image or video on your feed, all your friends will see it. Putting a trigger warning above an image of someone in a choke hold will not warn anyone since we can see the traumatic image either way.
These are a performance, and often where the mockery stems from. In some circles, trigger warnings are made for food, regular food, because food can trigger people with eating disorders. In an ED support group this would be effective, but in a group about your favorite internet podcaster, or a forum about nature, probably not useful in any way as everyone eats food and it is a common conversation that even toddlers engage in. These trigger warnings in places outside of the context add to this mockery despite how well intentioned they appear.
I feel deeply for people with eating disorders. I had one in my twenties. Managing to overcome bulimia meant taking control. Ironic since bulimia stems from a desire for control. This is where we circle back to the mindfulness at the beginning of this essay.
I can catch myself now, before I start into my bad eating habits. This is where you can take control of your triggers too. Find out the step that comes just before the melt down. Then think of what step comes before that. Then what comes before that?
In the line of habits that form my bulimic tendencies, there is weighing myself every day, looking at body influencers on the internet, limiting my food pantry drastically, and forgetting to eat meals for more than a day. I didn’t know all of this until I started journaling, taking notes, and tracking my mood
Take notes on habits
If you are suffering from your triggers, from an eating disorder, or any other kind of mental health crisis here are some organizations where you can find help near you
Tree Pose, Balance, and what I mean when I say Grounding
An essay and contemplation by Rose Moore
Grounding is a term to describe the praxis of coming to the present – Royoyoga
Anxiety is caused by thinking about the future. Depression comes from thinking about the past. Think to yourself, do you find yourself thinking about the past of future more? How do this correlate with your depression or anxiety symptoms? Grounding is a term to describe the praxis of coming to the present. A dulling of the future and past.
How can tree pose ground you then? First let us meditate on the idea of a tree.
When we think of the broader concept of grounding a tree you might think roots going down into the ground, a large trunk to keep the tree from falling over, healthy nutrients so that the limbs of the tree retain durability, water, to soak the cells so not to shrink, or even the cycle of life when in the fall leaves may fall literally onto the ground.
So how can we relate to these conditions of a tree? Next time you come into this asana I want you to really think on the subject.
Roots? What are your roots?
For some people it is their home, for others it is their family, some even connect their roots to their ancestors. In a smaller sense your roots can also be what is the motivating factors for your current project. All of our ideas have a root in our prusha, our lens of the world. In this sense, tree pose can signify a cleaning of this lens, clearing out the distractions so that you can see the roots in your life—meaning what makes you tick, what makes you swoon, and everything in between.
Balance? Have you ever fallen over?
I recently cut my heel. I was running around my back yard barefoot, carefree, and sliced my calloused heel open on a small stump from a bush I had cut down last year. In a literal sense, I fell over.
Since then, I have had a limp on my right foot slightly. Being injured from the base of my body has changed my yoga practice, and I am unbalanced. Funny thing, it is not the cut which caused the imbalance, no. It is the cut which brought my imbalances to life.
When you practice yoga these kinds of imbalances physically can help you with your emotions, mind, and soul as well. Do to the cut on my right foot I have been practicing tree pose on my left side, which is the side that represents the sun (the HA in Hatha yoga). Now, having contemplated these symbols for a while, I said, aHA! Something is imbalance in my daily life, rather than a deeper undercurrent in my life. This is because the THA in hatha represents night, and what comes out at night?
The moon, which takes a month for a cycle. Daily tree pose on the left side has helped me come back to my daily habits and I wouldn’t have made this choice to focus on my left if I had not gotten injured. Much like a tree with a limb cut off, branching out the opposite direction to keep up tall.
Food? How do you feel different when you get the nutrients you need?
We all must eat, even trees. In a way, trees compete with grass for the nutrients in the ground. Who do we compete with for food? Yes, there are outer competitions for beauty, health, prosperity etc, but Id challenge you to look internally. What have you eaten recently and how does your body feel in return? What issues do you have with food, emotionally?
A lot of us have emotional eating patterns and tree pose can be a time to contemplate where those thoughts are coming from. If you stop and appreciate a single slice of orange*—the texture, the flavor, the pulp in your mouth, the feelings can dissipate, grounding you by allowing you to appreciate the food coming into you.
Tree pose helps with digestion because of the balance you receive from sucking in your belly during the pose. When you do this, you will feel more grounded, meaning less likely to fall! Your center of gravity happens to also be where your body digests food,
*I choose orange because it is the first food I picked for mindful eating. It is not just enjoying food, there is a whole process. More on this practice coming soon.
Hydration? When you drink water, how does your body react, and how does this help with expansion?
Like I said earlier, water expands the cells in a tree. It also expands the cells in your body, plumping them up giving a reserve for which your cells can keep working. When you do not drink water, you may notice particular sensations. Your mouth may feel dry, you may get dizzy, your urine changes colors. All of this is effect from dehydration. It is easier to deal with difficult situations, over pour with gratitude, and live your best life when you are hydrated. Just like a tree!
Trees know when it is going to rain. They curl their leaves into a cup for water and get ready to be drenched. You too can prepare yourself for water with the tree pose asana. Taking a moment to check in with your body, decide what affects you are feeling from more or less water, and make a plan. Drink the water! Merely taking the moment to check in is grounding. You are feeling the root of your body’s sensations.
Change? Where do you find yourself when you feel your leaves falling, entering a new phase in your life?
This contemplation is fun! As humans we stay the same forever in our consciousness which never goes away, a deeper lesson on yoga that deserves its own blog post. You know what does not stay the same??? Literally everything else, from the world spinning to the emotions which may rock you like waves. The same goes for a tree, which is always the same tree despite its reactions to the time of the year. There are some trees which will die in cold climates, they tend to have juicy leaves, flower, or have fruits. They go barren in the winter and come alive in the spring. These are called deciduous trees.
Once you go north you will see trees with needles, that do not appear to shed during the winter or change in the summer. These are called coniferous trees. Both types of trees are ever changing, however. The pine trees shed their needles often and drop cones filled with seeds, much like the fruit of a cherry tree.
Are you a fruit tree with dramatic, visible changes in your life right now? Or a pine tree, constantly shedding but also keeping up a constant image to the world? Change is hard, so let these contemplations guide you through tree pose when you feel something new coming along.
Woah, trees are more like humans than we thought eh? The yogis have known for centuries. Not because of education for which a yogi has much, but because in yoga we can contemplate how we are human, but also no different than any other aspect of the world. Something you cannot learn in a book or from a guru. It must be experienced, thus suffering (that anxiety and depression we talked about earlier) be quelled from the mind. We have a lot in common with our tree friends when we can come into the present, leaving the past behind and the future as something for later.
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