Under the Bohdi Tree - Yoga and Change
The only thing constant in life is change. From the moment we are born we are changing, and we are also acutely aware of all that is changing around us. Change is something that needs no catalyst - it is always happening. Over time we grow to understand that we cannot control the change: in our society, in the behavior of others, or in nature. The question soon becomes: “What can we control?” Simply put, our individual response.
How we respond, that is the only thing in our control. Change can cause a myriad of reactions from excitement to resistance. Yoga is an excellent tool for anyone dealing with change, especially if your response happens to fall anywhere on the spectrum below “excited”. Luckily, Yoga can act as a salve to help one get grounded when in the midst of change that may be overwhelming. A consistent yoga practice can provide us with several tools. It can help one keep an open perspective and create the internal flexibility needed to facilitate the cultivation of healthy future responses to change.
The following Yoga practices have helped me to embrace and adapt to change better over the last few years:
Simple Inversions: such as Viparita Karani (aka Legs up the Wall) , Down Dog, or wide legged forward fold will help to shift stagnant energy from the feet back up through the body into the head. The physical act of placing the head below the heart, while in these poses, can help shift our perspective, giving us the opportunity to truly look at the potential change from another angle.
Simple Twists: such as Marichayasana (seated Sage twist) or reclined twist with bent knees can help to open up energetically clogged meridian lines in the body. Twisting will help to facilitate the release fixed views or opinions that no longer serve you – these views may be manifesting themselves as resistance to change. (Twist are not recommended if you have a severe spine injury, back problems, during pregnancy, soon after surgery. After recent or chronic hip, knee, or shoulder injury please consult your physician before practicing yoga. )
Back Bends: such as Baby Cobra, Cobra, or Bridge have garnered the nickname “Yoga Paxil” because these poses are believed to be natural anti-depressants. This genre of poses help to open the chest, shoulder & abdomen. Opening the shoulders & chest allows for the physical and energetic heart to shed stagnant energy, and embrace new possibilities. (Backbends are not recommended for those who suffer from spinal stenousis or spondylolisthesis. If you have scoliosis please consult a doctor before you begin a yoga practice as backbends may also be contraindicated depending on the extent of condition)
Try incorporating these tips into your life so that you can embrace change with a new perspective, open heart, and unblocked energy flow. We can control our how we respond, and yoga can help us cultivate positive future responses to change. Until next month, Namaste.