recalibrate: day 3
"Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”
― Pema Chödrön
Good morning and welcome to day 3!
You now may be becoming more aware of your complex inner environment. You may have noticed that the landscapes of the mind, like mirrors of our lives, are constantly changing - sometimes peaceful, sometimes agitated, sometimes joyful, sometimes dull. You might have observed some patterns to they way you think and maybe even noticed similar thought patterns resurfacing over and over again.
Many of our thought processes, behaviors, patterns, and emotional responses are developed very early in life. We think, behave, and react in certain ways that have become seemingly hardwired into our system. When we start to do something different than the way we’ve always done it, there can sometimes be a bit of friction or discomfort.
Today, I invite you to lovingly explore any discomfort that surfaces.
Think of the mind like a muscle. If you use a muscle in a new way, it may feel challenging and uncomfortable at first. But, if you train that muscle, with consistent effort over time, it will eventually be able to perform the task with ease.
Our minds are the same.
We can use our yoga and meditation practice to help us observe, process, and navigate our changing emotional states. Often, when we feel an emotion, the brain is quick to attach a thought or memory to that feeling. The thought triggers more emotions which then triggers more of the same thoughts, strengthening the same neural pathway, and round and round we go.
For example, you may feel tired at the end of your workday, that feeling produces the thought that you have too much to do, which produces the feeling of frustration, the feeling of frustration leads to more thoughts about the many reasons why you are frustrated, leading to other memories of being frustrated, and round and round you go. However, if you were to simply notice the initial feeling of fatigue and respond to that, you could have potentially avoided the entire thought spiral and the emotional charge connected to it.
With practice, we can get to know the subtleties of our emotional experience and build a more loving and aware relationship with them, helping us to navigate the waves of life with a little more ease and a little more grace.
In this morning’s yoga practice, we work with unlocking the hips and pelvis. This can be an area of the body where we hold a lot of unconscious tension and old emotions.
Remember that stress response. Whenever we perceive a threat, feel stressed, anxious or afraid, our natural response is to activate the big muscles through our hips and pelvis to prepare to run or fight.
Remember, that our stress response is often triggered over and over again throughout the day. Over time, these big muscles shorten and the full tension is never fully released. It not only traps muscular tension, but also deep cognitive emotion felt at that time as well.
This unconscious tension can be held from a traumatic event, or lots of little events where the stress of feelings like sadness, fear, and worry are stored and can get stuck. For some, stretching the hip muscles may create a physical or emotional release... or both!
In practice today, we’ll work with both active and passive hip openers. Some that you can just melt into, and some that I’ll ask you to activate the muscles through your hips. We want to find a balance between both strength and flexibility to create healthy mobility through our hips (to keep you dancing for decades to come!) If some movements feel really good, or (even better) if some feel challenging, you may want to pause the video and explore them a little longer.
Now, before you do anything else today, just pause.
Start with a few full, deep conscious breaths.
Arrive in this moment.
Today's Yoga: Hips + Pelvis
All you'll need today are two blocks, or two cushions. If you have sensitive knees, you may enjoy putting a folded blanket underneath them in the lunges.
Today's meditation is best done in a seated position. So take some time to get comfortable. If sitting on the floor, elevate your hips slightly higher than your knees, so your legs can relax and your spine can be tall. If you're sitting on a chair, keep your feet on the floor and try not to lean back into the chair, but rather, keep sitting up tall. If sitting for this length of time doesn't work for you, you can also lay down. However, you may have discovered yesterday that when we lay down and relax, it's all too easy just to fall asleep. If you have questions about setting up a comfortable seated position, or working around any injuries, feel free to email me anytime + I can suggest some options.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
― Victor Frankl
I hope you enjoy!
Any questions or comments, along the way, contact me anytime.
Lots of love,