A 30 Day Challenge... And October Meditation practice.
The Seasons a changing Yogis,
For many of us this is when we start to get our fall groove on. For some as we lament the passing of warmer days, and the pause in the seasons this can sometimes be a challenging time of the year. With this gap in our seasons, and summer time hiking and biking in mind; my studio has often hosted a 30 day yoga challenge to keep you focused, get in shape for ski season, and stave off any seasonal gloom you may be experiencing. This year is no different as I’m proposing we all get with a thirty day practice of some sort. Unlike years past I’m not pushing the physical classes as much as all of us committing to a thirty day meditation challenge. Some of you will couple your asana practice with this meditation, and some may use this opportunity to go inside.
I have done many thirty and forty day challenges around a practice, and just like the more physical version of this it created an opportunity for transformation. If you have never devoted much of your practice time to this style of practice here’s your chance to see first hand how this can support you on and off the mat. I know sitting can often times feel boring and maybe even pointless. That’s why I’ve created a routine that is very accessible, and can direct your mind while your building your stillness muscles. I learned long ago that meditation is for the mind what yoga is for the body. We are often more body motivated until something happens and you have no choice but to address the mind. This will hopefully give you the preventive medicine so your mind clears out some of the bizarre events of 2018 as we begin to move towards a new year.
Part of moving our energy and becoming actionable is visualizing yourself in a new home, relationship, job or the like. So what would your life look like if you sat in stillness, purified, and became more centered around what’s important. I think we will all feel what the majority of us are showing up for yoga for— and hopefully this will be the catalyst to a more peaceful, intentional, and relaxed way to live.
**To being the practice sit tall with your spine straight - you may wish to sit on a cousin or block so your hips and lower back are more relaxed when your doing the practice.
Once you have found a comfortable seated posture allow yourself a few moments to connect with where your body is at in the moment. Notice your breath and any other notable qualities that stand out. After a few moments begin 3- 6 - 9 or 12 rounds of Alternate Nostril Breathing/Nadi Shodhana. In the morning start by breathing into your right nostril, then exhale out your left, inhale through your left and then exhale out your right; that’s one so if your short on time just do three so you have time for the other aspects of the practice. Start on the other side in the evening hours; use your right hand to block your your nasal passages or do it mentally. When you feel a balancing from the right to left sides of your body, breath, and mind you will know that you have done enough.
The next piece is to practice a Kriya for the elements; this exercise is done be by tracking your breath and awareness from the base of your spine which we call the root chakra or earth element, and then allowing your breath and awareness to move back down to the feet. Following that same tracking from the feet, too the knees, base of the spine, then moving up to your water center or second chakra. Continue this processes of following the breath and your awareness around these elements as you reach your fire or navel center. Then move to your heart or air center, always beginning at the feet and working your way back up and then down. Then move to the throat which is your ether and about the space inside you and outside you. Move up to the mid-brain or third eye. Purifying and grounding the mind. Then move up to the crown of your head connecting with the bigger picture and universal wisdom. Through this process feeling not only your body and breath balancing with these elements, but also how they exist inside of you— and feel balanced with the elements outside of you. (If your short on time move on to the next exercise.)
Now pause after this exercise to sit and be still. Often times when we get to this calm space we assume this is arriving in our meditation. It can be in some practices, however this is when we are ripe for transformation. After your pause we will begin that same up and down process- only this time we will allow a white luminous light to move from the base of your spine following the same path as the previous exercise. This time begin at the base seeing the white light which is the color of purification swelling in your root chakra, then move the white light up and down the chakras and spine allowing the light to move three times to each point until you reach the crown. Feel, sense, or see this white light cleansing your spine, and all of the parts and elements that relate to each center. At the end allow yourself to be bathed in this white light.
Then with the clarity and relaxation of the practice state your most recent intention or Sankalpa that you have been working on. Feel the clarity and connection with your intention in this heightened and balanced space. At the end of the processes give thanks and let yourself rest in the light of your practice. When you feel complete finished by rubbing your palms together until they get warm, and then place them over your eyes giving yourself an eye bath one to three times. Move slowly as you reintegrate into the rest of your day, and enjoy the purification and clarity you receive from this practice. You can do a savanna, or some light stretching on your back if you feel tight after the practice. I hope you enjoy this month, and can’t wait to hear some of your experiences of a thirty day challenge, and how this practice shapes the way you connect with yourself and the world.