As I was instructing the Mother-Daughter Yoga at Kripalu last weekend, and the Yoga and Love retreat at Breitenbush two weeks ago, I witnessed the collective effect of the residue fading and the radiance returning. In relationships that may include resonance, intimacy, poignancy, complexity, conflict, despair, angst, joy, and longing. To trust the process of lessening the residue, as a way to welcome back love and connection, means learning a new way of being together. Yet, so much of life seems to be about doing. What can we do to create intimacy, avoid conflict, secure joy, and to prevent angst?
Following an experience of expansiveness and vulnerability after an amrita yoga session followed by meditation together, the students asked me, “What will we do about this (new opening in our relationship)”?
Yoga teaches us that we’re learning how to be with our experiences, how to be with our feelings; not how to do our experiences, nor how to do our feelings.
Ayurveda also teaches us that our doshas shine better when we are respectful of their rhythms. What’s our life stage dosha? What’s our personal dosha? What are the dosha’s of our loved ones? What are the dosha rhythms of the day? How shall we Be with these rhythms?
Perhaps a way to make this a compelling question for our Western minds is “What is the cost to us of NOT being with these rhythms?
Our brains and bodies, therefore our hearts and minds, our relationships and our health too, are all regulated by rhythm and reciprocity. There is an indwelling pulsation in each of us, a hum of aliveness that wants to express itself through us. It wants to shine!
What is the cost of not aligning with these rhythms?
Though we will eventually experience illness (physical and mental), we’ll find that our relationships are more difficult, and we’ll sense that life is more effort that ease. One of the biggest losses for us is the loss of the felt sense of ourselves as unconditionally belonging to the radiance of life. Albeit, without having to make so much effort to do life, or to do radiance. We lose the recognition that it is already shining in us.
This leads to undercurrents of despair, isolation, loneliness, misperception about ourselves and others, grasping, wanting things to be different, aversion, heaviness, anxiety, and pain. We may not realize these undercurrents are moving within us, but the residue accumulates. Yet, we might just feel that things aren’t going our way, or we’re a bit crankier because of something someone else did or didn’t do, or perhaps we feel a continuous sense of something missing, or some inadequacy.
Then we might generate thoughts about what to do about these agitations (small or large). Manipulate them, get away from them, rearrange them, deny them, and blame others or ourselves for them. This will add to the residue in our minds and bodies, and it will further dull the radiance that wants to shine within us.
In amrita yoga, which integrates Ayurveda and neuroscience with mindfulness and yoga, we choose practices that dissolve the residue, and that help us to understand the habits in us that create this residue. (So we can stop accumulating it so fast!)
Here are three simple things for dissolving your residue in summer’s heat:
- Wake up at sunrise with an attitude of gratitude.
- Don’t let yourself get over-heated (literally, but also mentally and emotionally).
- Practice a pitta-cooling pose in the heat of the afternoon. (see Supta Baddha Konasana)
- While practicing this pose, which will require some lying still and Not Doing, it can be helpful to visualize the residue fading, melting away.
- To support this, it is also helpful to deeply understand that this residue is interwoven with your symptoms (including digestive issues, insomnia, pain in the body, headaches, and emotional tendencies too). Understanding this can motivate you not to DO more to get rid of it. Start by saying to yourself during the restorative pose:
“May the Residue Fade. May the Radiance Return.”
- In restorative yoga, your body will be able to nudge you toward health and harmony if you allow it to do so. Therefore, keep your mind uninterested in anything other than your mantra. For 20 minutes!
We’ll look at further Ayurvedic suggestions in blogs to come, including considerations for your relationships!
See an upcoming blog: Our Deepest Fear is the Rupture to our Relationships (even if you think its finances or sex!)