Happy birthday to me ….
Happy Birthday to Me
It’s my birthday today, hooray, I love birthdays!
Yes, I know, a birthday marks another year passed, and I’m another year older and I love birthdays! Whilst I’m not overly thrilled about that side of things, I am still grateful to be here and the birthday will happen whether I choose to be miserable and ignore it or whether I choose embrace the changes in me and celebrate.
Aging, and the changes that come with it, can be a challenge. Change is difficult, there’s no denying that, it’s also inevitable. Yoga philosophy teaches us that trying to control the uncontrollable, to try to prevent change happening, is a path fraught with pain and anguish. Yoga gives us the strength we need to weather the changes.
My very first yoga teacher (Christine Barraclough, 20 + years ago!) used to say that we are like kelly dolls, life will knock us around but yoga gives us the stability to keep on bouncing back. I’ve always liked that image and I still return to it. As my own yoga practice has progressed one of my favourite postures is Tree (it has so much to offer and there’s such a lot of playing around and exploring that you can do in tree pose 🙂 ). I like to feel that I am a tree, a little bit of wobble is fine because I know that my roots are strong and if I go with the flow, rather than resisting, I will find my balance again. Resistance will cause rigidity and I’ll fall over!
Yoga teachings help us to understand that to flow through life we need to be like the trees. We need firm foundations, a strong core (physical, mental, emotional & spiritual), flexibility, a desire to always grow and an acceptance of whatever life brings. Acceptance, by the way, doesn’t mean you just roll over and put up with things, it’s about action without getting wrapped up in the emotion of a situation – a huge topic for discussion another time!
If we close up and try to control a situation, we can become anxious and fearful, our world starts to shrink. We then become rigid, and eventually, perhaps inevitably we will fall or snap. I believe that this can happen all too easily as we get older, unless we make a conscious effort to keep on growing and stay flexible in mind and body. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest anti-aging strategies we can employ. Take a moment to think about all the youthful older people you know – I’ll bet a large proportion of them are always learning or trying out something new, still interested in life.
Why not practice the beautiful tree pose yourself, every day until my next blog ? See how it helps you to flow with life and deal with challenges in a balanced and focused way. Be creative – try it indoors and out; hold the posture at different stages; focus on the physical movements, then on how you breathe in the pose, be aware of how it makes you feel, do any affirmations or visualisations come to mind? ; Flow with it; hold it steady…..
Another great way of allowing life to flow is to meditate. Find a comfortable seated position, allow your breath to settle. Now become aware of the connection you make with the earth, each time you exhale imagine you are putting roots down into the earth, take your time, there’s no hurry. Becoming more and more aware of the connection you make with the earth….until you become so connected you can feel the earth breathing with you. As you inhale and expand feel the earth expanding with you. As you exhale, relaxing and settling feel the earth relax and settle beneath you. Keep your awareness with this connection for as long as you wish, before coming slowly out of the meditation. If you notice a point in your day when life isn’t really flowing as you would like, perhaps an emotion is blocking up in you see if you can return to the image, imagining the blockage being released as you expand so there’s no constriction, just a free flow of energy between you and earth.
I hope you enjoy these techniques, and feel yourself become more flexible and flowing. In my next age related blog I’m going to look at more yoga poses for keeping us youthful, until then I’ve a busy day of cake eating and present opening. Ix