Sometimes in life, where we need to grow, we must first shrink back before expanding. That can look like many different things – after all, we are each unique beings. That shrinking back might translate to “doing our homework,” researching options, and taking time to understand the parameters. Growth can be scary. Navigating new territory feels like risk taking. We want some solid ground underneath us, something familiar that reminds us of sure footage. If we do not grow, we do not evolve, our diamond selves won’t get polished, our capacity to shine stays undiscovered and we feel stuck.
No matter how efficiently or how slowly we manage to make progress, there are many inherent, sustaining advantages we CAN count on to provide continued support and an upward spiral along our life journey:
1. Our breath – in as little as three deep breaths, we are able to pare down the Sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight responses of stress) and rev up our Parasympathetic responses (the rest and digest responses of ease/safety). In stillness, clarity comes, better decisions can be made, and a more positive outlook keeps bringing us back to living with “gratitude first.” Try:
a. The Box Breath pranayama, spend equal time in each of the four areas of the breath cycle: Inhalation, retention, exhalation, retention. Start with counting to 2 or 4 in each section of the breath cycle and increase to 6 or 8 counts. Continue with this one pointed focus for 2 to 5 minutes. It is interesting to “notice what you notice” once you stop and just focus on how your body continues with deep breathing.
b. Aromatherapy that supports the respiratory system like peppermint or eucalyptus. Need help with ordering pure essential oils, look here.
2. Our core strength – when we have an opportunity to move, we get to “feel our strength.” This is the direct result of how we are built. Because of the design of the frame of the body, we cannot move forward without some aspect of core engagement. This is our third chakra at work, our inner strength both physically and emotionally. It is directly connected to our forth chakra, our heart, our spiritual strength center. Try practicing heart openers like Warrior I and II, Locust or Camel pose, as well as core engagement poses like strengthening twists (Half Lord of the Fishes) and Boat pose. Try aromatherapy that supports a feeling of being grounded like frankincense, cedarwood or arborvitae. You’d feel lighter, capable, ready and open.
3. Connecting to the earth – using your connection to the surface below you yields a longer spine – walking and sitting taller, feeling spacious and feeling connected to your world. This helps you to feel supported - it is that simple: using the physical connection to “feel” the emotional and spiritual connection.” Furthermore, the feeling of being grounded is the springboard to creativity, positive outlook, endorphin release, better digestion, improved sleep, and general renewed energy. Try standing poses that require great balancing like Tree and Warrior III, note the feeling of length and strength. Use aromatherapy that you connect to with regard to the outdoors, like spruce, rosemary, fir, or rose.
4. Smiling – Anything you want to cultivate needs practice, and sometimes we all get to a place of not having motivation or positive energy. We feel as if we do not have anything to offer. That saying, “fake it ‘til you make it,” can really work. Try walking through one day with a constant smile. Notice the uplifting energy that comes from those who pass you and smile back or feel compelled to say something nice/kind. It is a “win-win,” and an instant way of seeing karma at work. Use aromatherapy that improves mood like citrus oils.
Want to spend time with us leaning more about yoga and aromatherapy? Join our ongoing online course, Essential Yoga Sangha, you will receive our book and DVD once you enroll. We’d love to see you in our sangha, our community!