At the moment, where I live, we’re going through a dry spell. Rain has been unseasonally scarce. The land and the life that relies on it is visibly struggling. After many long weeks without rain, we had a short downpour a few days ago. Just enough to refresh and revitalize. The transformation was amazing! That life-giving rain provided instant nourishment. It was beautiful to see. So too, Yoga nourishes our very Being – spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.
WATER FROM THE SPRING
Just as we need water to keep the body’s systems healthy and vital, so too do the various practices and techniques of Yoga, water and replenish a deeper, lasting sense of Wellbeing within ourselves.
Ultimately, our Yoga practices on and off the mat should be nourishing, rather than depleting. Although this seems obvious, sometimes it’s easier said than done! If we are exploring our own home Yoga practice, it’s important to take a moment to ‘sit’ with how we’re feeling before we step onto the mat. If we can tune into what we really need in the moment, from the Heart, we let go of what we think we should be doing, and align our practice with what will nourish us most in the moment. Right here and now.
Although it may seem paradoxical, practicing this way can still challenge us on many levels, and, in the process, it can slowly begin to dissolve superficial or deeper habit patterns that we recognize as unhealthy for our physical, mental, emotional or spiritual Wellbeing. As we learn to connect to our deeper selves with more honesty and acceptance, then Yoga responds – by offering us the practical nourishment we need…
It may be a gentle Chandra Namaskar to awaken the flow of Prana (vital force), or harmonising and balancing the entire being through the rhythmic fluidity of Ujayii Pranayama… or it may be the challenge of certain Asana that ‘push our buttons’, such as inversions, arm balances, or hip openers, because these too can be incredibly transforming and nourishing when explored in the right Spirit of Practice. One of the most important sources of nourishment, is the gentle but stable support of a spiritual community or Sangha, which can also refresh and inspire our journey into the heart of Yoga.
LIVING YOGA ~ A DAY OF NOURISHMENT
Today, without any particular or direct ‘plan’, I realise that I’m naturally gravitating towards Yogic practices and daily activities that are nourishing me on every level of my Being. And I intuitively know it’s exactly what I need right now… to balance, restore and refresh after a busy few weeks.
My day of nourishment: A morning of quiet solitude and mindfulness; connecting back to Sangha by listening to the spiritual teachings of my Dear Ones; simple household tasks to help maintain a calm space for us to live in; making a nourishing and sattvic Kicharee for lunch; silence; being with Nature; some simple Pranayama. Sharing afternoon Yoga with my beloved… All of these, no matter how simple, connect me back to the Source.
FOOD FOR THE SOUL
To allow ourselves to be nourished, means we also need to be open to receiving. Whether it be from others or ourselves. As importantly, it also means being happy to give. Not out of a sense of obligation, but with a genuine and loving wish to help and serve others. The art of relaxed, unattached, agenda-less giving and receiving is a challenging but wonderful practice, and real food for the Soul.
Over time, our love of Yoga and trust in ourselves gains momentum – becoming a deep and inexhaustible Spring from which we can drink and quench our thirst. This wellspring or Source of Yoga, nourishes and revitalizes us on every level. This is the essence and spirit of Yoga.
What nourishes you? Are there any simple daily practices you already explore that you find ‘food for the Soul’? Is there a time in your week where you could give yourself a few hours to practice the art of Yoga as nourishment? Perhaps there can be one day a month that you dedicate to your own spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing… Learning to receive and give what is needed most.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! You can get in touch with me here.
Mardi (Yoga Nature) is dedicated to helping people reconnect with the essence of Wellbeing. Through Yoga, we explore ways to embrace the fullness of Life – by bringing health to our Body, an ease to our Breath, clarity to our Mind, and more openness and harmony into our Heart. We begin to Awaken!
(Images: Nourished and refreshed ~ One of the many breathtaking waterfalls and pools we enjoyed swimming in, on a 3 week bushwalk deep into the ancient and sacred wilderness of Kakadu, northern Australia, 2007. Waterlily photo by Andrew).