This is a post by the lovely Sarah she lives and breathes a holistic lifestyle; I am honored to have her post here today- I hope you guys enjoy it!
Opportunity to Love Ourselves
Last night I woke up at 4am. I had a restless sleep and kept going in and out of a dream, until I finally shook myself awake and looked at the clock. That space in the middle of the night- before sunrise, in the silence of a city that is sleeping – is a time of solitude, a time to delve into the world of connecting with self. I love that time.
But, not last night. Upon waking I realized that my hands were incredibly itchy and my whole body was swollen. I quickly realized that the physical discomfort was actually what had disturbed my sleep and I was having an allergic reaction. My mind was running mad- why is this happening? What did I eat? Is my throat going to close up? Oh my god, what if I have to go to the hospital? What if this is really serious? The usual stream of fearful questions started racing.
And then I paused for a moment. I was afraid and alone in the dark. Such a familiar sensation- throwing me back to the days of when I woke up terrified in the middle of the night as a little girl, worried that someone was going to break into the window.
And then I checked in with myself. I was breathing. I was able to get up and walk around. I was just experiencing the bodily sensations of being itchy and swollen.
And then I asked myself a question- what is this teaching me? What is this experience shining light on? My body was on overload. I was stressed out emotionally, mentally, spiritually and definitely physically- so many things were being uprooted in my life and being turned upside down. And so my body was so perfectly reminding me to pay attention…to slow down…to rest…to feed myself pure, wholesome, clean foods…to allow the pain and sadness to be experienced.
Illness shows up so that we have the opportunity to love ourselves more. It is in those moments of darkness that we have the opportunity to cultivate being comforting, nourishing, and patient. This is bringing the practice of yoga to every day life.
How to Practice Yoga
There are many simple ways that you can practice yoga in your daily life- without even having to go to a yoga class.
1. Notice when your mind starts running wild: asking lots of fear-driven questions, doubting, worrying.
2. Pause and notice what you are really afraid of or what is really bothering you.
3. Ask yourself the question- what is this teaching me? What opportunity is this situation presenting to me?
Yoga gently reminds us to look at our bodies and our lives with awareness and consciousness.
Yoga and Nutrition
Practicing yoga not only supports the digestive system and physical health. If you do want some tips on actual yoga postures for supporting digestive health, you can check some of the best out here. Additionally, yoga can also assist us in understanding the emotions that are tied up in our eating habits.
For example- if I start to crave a particular food, like a gooey chocolate chip cookie, my mind can go crazy just thinking about something so simple.
1. Notice that I am craving something.
2. Bring gentle discernment to this craving. I can start to look at why I am really craving sweets and why I am yearning for the sensations of eating a cookie. There is always something behind the craving when I start to look at what I am really feeling.
3. Ask questions- what is this teaching me? Maybe this is an opportunity to give myself nourishment that is deeper than food cravings. Maybe I need to feel taken care of and that life is full of sweetness. Eating that cookie will bring those sensations only temporary. What are the actions I can take and things I can do in my life to cultivate caring for myself and generating sweetness in life?
Remember that practicing yoga is always a self-exploration and for you to discover. You can’t mess up. Just start asking yourself questions and shining light onto the opportunities that every situation presents.
Sarah Grossman is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, holistic chef, and yoga teacher. She teaches people Intuitive Nutrition to determine which foods are best for the body and loves writing blog posts.