Home Practice idea – Switch off your screens!
I received an email from one of my teachers Sheila Baker last week. I usually work with Sheila once or twice a year depending on where she is teaching and refer to my notes from the sessions I have taken with her time and time again. She leaves a lasting impression and has had a profound impact upon my approach as a yoga practitioner and teacher over the years.
So, what was different about this email? The fact that Sheila has so clearly opted to remove herself from the online offering of yoga via Zoom and that she decided instead to include a handwritten practice for her students to print out and refer to as a source of inspiration whenever they so choose.
It was a hearlt-felt message and I felt overwhelmed by her simple act of kindness and compassion. Sheila is one of the most creative people I know and her practices are layered with a deep wisdom, imagination and philosophy.
This led me to thinking about offering you the same, a hand-drawn practice for you to explore in your own time guided through simple illustrations and words as opposed to virtually or via an online exchange. There is something very beautiful and simple about stripping it back to practices in this way. Cut out the noise and so much can happen.
This practice is designed to explore Kindness as this years theme for Mental Health Awareness week. So do just that, be kind and gentle, compassionate and calm in every part of the practice. With your movement, breath and your mind.
Ensure you have a quiet space to practice and allow yourself up to 35 minutes. Follow this link to download a copy of the practice, print it out and switch off your screens. 😉
Notes on a practice for kindness
To begin, check in with yourself physically, energetically, emotionally and mentally. Notice the parts of your body making contact with the Earth, get grounded and then bring awareness to your spine and allow it to become vibrant.
Slow your breathing down and notice areas of tension that you may like to release. This sort of time spent noticing will allow for you to observe changes during your practice. Be very gentle with yourself, whatever arises is okay.
Take each repetition 3 times and explore the breath naturally as well as with Ujjayi breathing. Practice as if your hands are an extension of your heart and everything you do moves you from and back towards that place.
Be attentive to the way you touch, hold, fold, open and close yourself as you go. Notice the pauses that arise between your inhalations and your exhalations, be extra kind to yourself in those pauses. Upon completion sit or lie down, settle physically and bring your full awareness to your natural breath, observing your inhalations and exhalation as they arise. Notice the sensations in your body and become aware any changes physically and energetically, emotionally and mentally as a result of your practice. Be kind in your response, welcome whatever arises toward your heart as a gesture of acceptance and love for yourself.
I’d love to know your thoughts.
Enjoy being kind and notice what arises as a result.
With love and kindness,