“Eliminate physical clutter. More importantly, eliminate spiritual clutter.” ~~Terri Guillemets
(I got this image from here)
It’s funny how the mind and body are so intricately interconnected, isn’t it? The condition of one affects the condition of the other, which is why yoga can be such a power tool for healing both the body and the mind.
Our focus this week is on creating space. Getting rid of the clutter. For many people, the “clutter” starts in the mind. We let ourselves get so busy sometimes, letting our minds get overstuffed with thoughts, plans, and other information. When this happens, the clutter builds and builds, causing us to be unfocused. And what do our bodies do? They respond by trying to take action, but that’s hard for the body to do when the mind has all that clutter built up. The result is a tense body — our muscles tighten up, and we can no longer breathe deeply and smoothly. Let this go on for too long, and it can manifest itself in the body in much more serious ways, such as compromising our immune systems and opening our bodies up to a variety of illnesses and other issues.
But, if we can take some time on a regular basis for meditation, we can start to clear all that clutter from the mind. This creates space for our thoughts to come and go with more ease and peace, and if we can bring our minds to this state, our bodies will follow suit. Our breath will deepen and become more smooth, helping to bring balance to our entire being.
Today I completed a 5-day yoga teacher training that I’ve been dying to do for years. I had a solid 5 days to spend a lot of time on ME, which is a rarity. I usually spend the majority of my time (like 90%) focusing on taking care of everyone else, and I didn’t realize how much I’d been neglecting ME until these past 5 days. For the first few days, I went in with stress and tension because I felt I was being selfish to take so much time for me. Have any of you ever felt like that? Like it was a bad thing to spend some time with yourself and yourself alone? But as the training went on, I noticed changes within myself. Each day of the training, we incorporated not just physical postures, but also lots of breathing techniques, stress-releasing physical adjustments, visualization and chanting. I rarely make time in my life for anything other than the physical postures, because it seems that’s all I ever have time for.
Many of you know that I’ve been suffering from insomnia for quite some time. Well, I slept through the night starting on day 3 of the training. Yay for me! I also slept through the night on day 4 and I am thinking I will also be able to do the same tonight. How long will this last? I don’t know, but I sure hope that I can find the discipline to incorporate these more relaxing, meditational pieces into my practice on a more regular basis.
As they say, yoga is a practice and a journey, not a destination. So I need to remember how good I feel right now whenever I start to make an excuse for pushing these more restorative practices to the wayside. I need to create space for these things so that I can become a more pleasant and enjoyable human being, which will allow me to give of myself more authentically.
It’s not going to be easy for me, and it may be difficult for you as well. But keep at it, create that space, and you will reap the rewards.