“Stillness is dynamic. It is unconflicted movement, life in harmony with itself, skill in action… “uninhibited, unconflicted participation in the moment you are in.”Erich Schiffmann
While preparing for my daily yoga classes, I discovered this beautiful quote. It reminded me how lucky I am to be able to engage myself and my students in yoga in a way that encourages the movement of the body into stillness, self-love and self-discovery.
At my first restorative yoga class, I yearned for the rapid flow I was habituated in my vinyasa yoga classes. My lovely teacher sensed my discomfort and whispered in my ear “Movement is easy, rest is a harder journey. Just let it go and move into stillness!” I followed my teacher’s advice and started to exhale out my thoughts and discomfort to the props beneath me. That 75-minute class is where I began my journey of Letting Go.
After the class, I felt deeply relaxed and at peace (I slept through the afternoon!). A week into the practice, I noticed how my racing mind took a break and my body began to open up in a Supported Shavasana and how the calm vibes kicked in after each session.
Now after a couple of years into the practice, moving into stillness has become a way of life. I fully resonate with Pico Iyer’s quote
“In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.”Pico Iyer
Stillness is not being lazy nor does it lack energy and movement. Stillness is a powerful physical state that happens whenever there is an effortless movement of the mind-body and breath.
So, what happens when you move into stillness?
The state of stillness helps you move from the flight and fight mode to the rest and digest mode. You are able to be totally present at the moment and are:
- able to give yourself undivided attention
- able to experience deep connection with yourself
- able to experience peace and calmness
- able to allow your body the opportunity to focus on areas that might be in need of your attention and care
- able to feel more balanced, rejuvenated and re-energized
- able to change your perspective of and response to past, present and future scenarios
- able to experience more clarity, less fear, worry and anxiety
Here are simple ways to move into stillness:
- Relax into the floor once a day: Make it a point to lie down on the floor every day for 5-7 minutes and allow the stress to melt into the earth beneath you. Focus on how the body connects to the floor and feel more grounded. Make gentle movements on the floor to connect deeply with your body and then slowly move into stillness.
- Schedule breaks to focus on your breath: Similar to your tea / coffee break, schedule a break to focus on your breath. Simply focus on your natural breathing pattern, do not try to change the breathing pattern. Follow the movement of the breath in and out of your body and notice your mind moving into stillness.
- Settle into a Restorative Yoga pose: Make this a part of your daily morning/ evening routine – Grab your cushions, pillows, blankets or whatever that will make you feel comfortable and supported. Feel free to play some calm music, burn an incense stick, rub your favourite essential oil on the feet or light your favourite candle. Settle into a restorative yoga pose for 20 minutes and allow your body and mind to rest. Notice your emotions and experience all the sensations in your body.
- Move your body: At least once a week move your body to express yourself and connect to yourself. Commit to a 30 – 90 minutes of a long slow flow yoga sequence guided by your breath and notice how this slow movement helps you move into stillness.
Come, let’s move into stillness and say hello to ourselves.
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