After five weeks away from South Africa, it was wonderful to get back into the studio and onto the cushion. The space has a womb-like quality that supports my practice and reminds me to ‘be’ for a while, rather than to dive headlong into the ‘doing’ phase of exploring how life might look now that the PhD is behind me.
With this reconnection with the space came the theme for my yoga classes: ‘remembering’. The sanskrit word, smrti, is usually translated as ‘mindfulness’, but literally means remembering. This word provides motivation to keep remembering – our intentions, commitments, feelings, sensations and ideas. Why do we practice? What does it offer to us? What do we try to remember not to forget?!
1. Our Intentions
Remembering our intentions can be very useful to re-energise our practice when we begin to lose momentum.
2. Our Motivation
Remembering what motivates us to stretch on the yoga mat, or sit quietly on a cushion, recommits us to doing it day after day.
3. To Breathe
Remembering our breath is the simplest of practices to bring us back to the moment and to balance the nervous system. The in-breath activates us, while the out-breath relaxes us. To continuously come back to what we know supports our vitality is diligence – the joyful effort required to keep up a spiritual practice and see the changes that it can offer our daily lives.
4. Our Body
We can also remember how our body feels – the warmth, tingling, aching sensations – when we are developing strength and flexibility.
5. Our Heart-Mind
Tuning in to our moods and emotions, and remembering how our mind feels like when we are calm and clear; and how our heart feels when we can accept the ten thousand joys and ten thousand sorrows that are part of every human life.