For many of us this is truly a time of feeling battered and bewildered. There are substantial reasons to feel this way. And yet these times suggest that cultivating a capacity for loving kindness and tenderness towards these struggles is the right antidote to these troubling times. However, these skills are underdeveloped in most people. Yet I believe that this is what is called for in this very moment. And I would humbly suggest that the time is now more than ever.
One perspective of this gentleness can be described as “loosening our armor”. It doesn’t mean disregarding or stuffing down our often long-held and deeply-felt emotions and perspectives. In fact, what is called for are cultivating tools to help dismantle the protective layers that have accumulated from loss, illness, trauma, some type of abuse or simply daily life challenges.
Gentleness does require a certain vulnerability. And exposing our true feelings is a courageous act. In fact, the researcher and author, Brene Brown, suggests that being vulnerable is the most courageous thing one can do. Which of course feels a bit counterculture or at least counter-intuitive. In fact, in one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” That’s pretty interesting!
We all benefit from starting simply. Sometimes that means sitting with yourself in silence. For a few minutes or for many more than a few. The length of time doesn’t much matter. Just don’t fill up the time you set aside for this with anything else. Just begin by sitting. It’s simply a “pause”. And then you may find that you are ready to open up to speak your truth. Even if it is just a whisper to yourself. I might suggest that you practice with an everyday matter first and move onto more deep-seated matters as you gain that courage. What you will likely notice is a sense of relief that you are beginning to release the grip around whatever issue, fear or concern that is binding you.
You may ask what does that have to do with yoga? The yoga classes that I offer are about practicing tools that help cultivate this type of strength. We breathe, we move and of course we feel. Those feelings may be physical, emotional or mental or a combination of all three. And invariably, a range of sensations will rise up. Which will of course include feelings of discomfort and uncertainty. In the safe and supportive space that is created in my classes, you have time to explore and hone your skills of this type of deep self-care and open to this new emboldening and renewing version of strength.
I invite you to join me in my current classes that are offered on Mondays through December 3, 2018, at 9:30am-10:40am at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 240 Tiburon Blvd, Tiburon, CA. New class series will begin again in January, 2019.
Private sessions are also available at my Mill Valley studio. Please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.