You know that moment when it feels like you are involved in some kind of Divine joke and the characters in the story of your life keep reappearing, guised in new forms?

I have certainly noticed myself, at times, showing up to face circumstances that very creatively and sometimes humorously repeat themselves: a specific crossroads in a relationship, a difficult colleague who challenges my sense of self-worth, an impulse to act out in a way my wiser self knows does not align with my actual needs. 

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know”

Pema Chodron writes, in her book When Things Fall Apart. 

Wow. These words sometimes feel like a painful stab of truth, asking us to see difficulties as teachers.  In my own practice, I have worked hard to get to know myself and the way I tend to escape from pain and difficulty. This awareness has allowed me to slowly and over time practice making better choices.  

I have learned that the more I show up on my mat with an open heart to meet myself with kindness, the less I feel crushed by those darker layers of myself in other parts of my life. I have practiced, to the best of my ability and with a lot of guidance, taking a deep breath, stepping back and seeing whatever I need to see from more of a bird’s eye view perspective.

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know”

I recently took a restorative class on a night when I was feeling unsettled and overwhelmed by some unpleasant events that had happened earlier. I had a difficult time staying present, my entire body was aching, and I noticed a long decision making dialogue happening inside my head. As the class was about to end, the teacher acknowledged how much courage it takes to choose to practice restorative yoga and to choose sitting quietly with ourselves. 

Even as a regular teacher and student of restorative yoga, these words nailed me.

Choosing to be kind and loving to ourselves, even the not-so-pretty parts of how we sometimes show up, takes endless courage. Allowing ourselves to feel what we are feeling also is no easy task. As we move through the chaos of the holidays and the end of another year, we enter a time where reflection, slowing down, and self-care are vital and needed healing rituals. 

Let’s enter this new year soaked in kindness, gentleness and a whole lot of love. 

Posted
AuthorAnastasia Nevin

 

We often hear the expression "injuries are great teachers", and yet in the moment we want the pain and discomfort to go away as fast as possible so we can go back to our daily routine. This weekend, I was confronted with an old injury in my neck. As I felt my neck seize up and go out of alignment, I thought about how hard I had already worked on this part of myself. (Hadn't I spoken enough difficult truths and caused enough chaos already?!) And yet again, there was a part of my expression that in some way  was being stifled. 

I've had quite a few ailments in my life, and each one in its own way has reminded me to go underneath the physical into the more subtle aspects of what was happening. For me, the Chakra system has been a great way to understand and heal myself. 

The Fifth Chakra, also called Vissudha or "pure", is located in the physical region of the throat. This energy center governs communication, creativity, expression and listening. The fifth chakra is about our basic right to speak and to hear the truth.  The demon of this chakra is lying. Someone who is balanced in this area has a strong voice, good timing,  is a good listener and communicates clearly. Deficiency in this area may manifest as fear of speaking or having difficulty putting feelings into words, while an excess can translate into talking too much as a defense mechanism or gossiping. Physical manifestations of fifth chakra imbalances include disorders related to thyroid, mouth, ears, neck, throat and TMJ. 

If you relate, here are some healing practices you can do to find more balance:

1. Neck rolls:  Try this when you first wake up. Find a comfortable seat, close your eyes and move your head gently in big circles in both directions, breathing into any stiff or tight spots.. You can find your own pacing and bring  love to this area.

2. Singing! : Singing is a beautiful way to tap into the power of our own voice.  I love to play my favorite songs to accompany me,  or I find time to chant and play my harmonium at home. 

3. Affirmations: I love "I hear and speak my truth" as a mantra for the Fifth Chakra. You can practice this out loud or write an affirmation in your  journal as a daily sadhana (spiritual practice). 

4. Asana/Physical Postures: Camel Pose, Shoulderstand (you can do a variation with a block under your sacrum if the pose bothers your neck), and Fish Pose. 

Posted
AuthorAnastasia Nevin