Just Be Still.
On a recent overnight camping trip I decided to get up early to ensure I could watch the sunrise. It’s not something I do often, yet I’m always glad when I do. I was actually up before the alarm, made a cup of coffee and went outside to wait. There was a hint of purple in the east, it would be a while. I sat quietly and just observed. Osprey called to each other. Mullet jumped out of the water and landed with a splash. Water bugs raced around on top of the water and small fish swam around looking for breakfast. There was a slight breeze making the leaves rustle quietly. It was very, very peaceful. And I realized I need to spend more time practicing what I preach in class . . . just being still.
In yoga class you’ll frequently hear the instructor encouraging stillness. In the hot 26 we practice stillness for a few seconds between standing postures and lying still in savasana during the floor postures. It can be difficult to do both of these things. As you’ve likely heard, savasana is often considered the most difficult of all the postures. To just lie completely still . . . easier said than done.
Stillness is often in short supply as we move from one activity to the next, one responsibility to the next. And when we do have time to be still we often fill it with activities like watching TV, reading, listening to music. And all of these are wonderful ways to relax and enjoy some down time. But they are not stillness. Few of us can admit to participating in much complete stillness except when asleep.
Yet stillness fulfills us in a way that nothing else does.
Try it. Take 10 minutes to start with. Sit down, be still, let go of everything else. It can be pretty darned challenging at first. Just be still and observe. If you’re outside you can notice the breeze on your legs, birds chirping, different shades of brown and green in a tree, a cloud. Observe your heart beating, slowing down, your breathing becoming slow and deep, your shoulders relaxing. If you’re inside perhaps observe the color of the light coming in the window, the pattern of a rug. Let your eyes linger. Just observe – don’t analyze or make lists. If those things start to happen just bring yourself back to observation. You may start to notice your mind becomes calmer, relieved of its multitasking.
The first few times you do this it may be difficult, it may be very hard to sit still, your mind continuing to race with all the busyness of life. But hang in there – the reward is worth the effort. With practice you may find it’s sort of like a mini vacation that you can schedule every day. You don’t have to be in a special place, you can even be sitting in your car in a parking lot. Keep at it, take time every day, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, you’ll figure out what works best for you. They say it takes two weeks to create a new habit, so do it every day for two weeks. See what happens. In that stillness you will find what you need.
Jen took her first yoga class at a London YMCA in 1984 – and loved it. That was over 30 years ago and she’s been practicing ever since. A long distance runner and triathlete, Jen credits yoga with keeping her body healthy and injury free. Yoga was the calming influence in her life when running her own business and raising 3 children.
Jen has her 200 hour teaching certification and enjoys sharing her love of hot yoga with her students. She believes incorporating yoga into everyday is key – postures, breathing or meditation – just take a little time for yoga every day to reap timeless rewards. Jen loves the outdoors - hiking, biking, camping, traveling – always taking her yoga with her.