Soulful Ways to Slow Down
As the summer breeze turns to winter wind, the sign of season shift stirs a certain sense; A need to pull back, reset, and grow. But in our modern world, where days move at the speed of seconds and months pass faster than a blink of the eye, most of us no longer heed, nor hear, hibernation’s call.
We’ve lost touch with time, and with it, our sensitivity to the physical, mental and spiritual affects seasonal transitions offer us. Distracted, cracks begin to form in our foundations, allowing stress, depression, anxiety, impatience, frustration, anger and other such maladies to slip in our walls and take form. We fight them, and fail. Fight them, then excuse them. And eventually learn to ignore the sinking feeling the cause as they infuse into our roots, transforming us from the core.
We all deserve happiness, and we all know our mindfulness meticulously manages our access to the place in which our happiness is stored. To communicate with our mindfulness and dive into our well of happiness we must make (and take) time for ourselves to quietly embrace moments of ruminate reflection where we might speak softly and listen gently to our soul.
Initiating this averted allocation of life’s most precious commodity is immensely aided by external cues, none better beaconed than the sight of season’s change, and none better anchored than through frequent ritual that is anything but mundane.
Below are four of my favoured ways to anchor inward.
1) WRITE A PERSONAL MANTRA
“It is important to check-in with yourself each season to see how far you’ve come, where you’re at, and where you are going.” –Holly Rose
At the start of each season, I try to create a personal mantra. All you need is a piece of paper and a pencil, with which you write all the things you wish to shed, welcome, or nourish in your life. As you write each wish, hope, or desire, draw a symbol, repeating your newly created mantra in your mind. It can be anything you want: as simple as a heart or a star or as intricate as a detailed illustration. The symbol locks your mantra subconsciously into your mind and acts as a daily anchor, helping to guide you towards your greater state of being.
2) GO FOR GUIDANCE
“All life needs time below the surface, where it can breathe itself full and round, where it can reconnect with its nature and sprout again in its flushed form. Just as you can not force flowers to continually bloom, the same is true for all human beings. There is great value in letting go and dropping down. We must learn to remember, from time to time, to be like the tree in the winter.” –Sarah Blondin
In the prolific podcast series Live Awake, Canadian artist, mother, writer, and photographer Sarah Blondin shares her soulful insights and warmly motivating mindfulness, lovingly guiding towards greater states of wisdom and awareness enabling us to identify, face and embrace the parts of ourselves which need attending to and might otherwise ail us unnoticed.
3) DRINK TEA
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” –Thich Nhat Hạnh
The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hạnh says peace, happiness and joy is possible during the time he drinks his tea. He teaches mindfulness, guiding all to take notice of and appreciate nourishment received; from the seeds which sprouted, to the earth which cultivated, to the farmers who tended, and on. With each sip he encourages us to imagine the path the herbs and spices took to reach our mouth and take the time to be thankful for them.
4) RESTORE WITH YOGA
“Restorative poses help to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system’s ‘rest and digest’ mode. If you have trouble meditating, restorative poses can bring you into that meditative state. Breathing deeply and paying attention to the breath, you start to calm the mind. Fall often brings new beginnings with jobs, school, etc. It’s easy to feel the rush of new activity overtake some of the summer bliss. Take time for yourself, slow down, plant your roots, and ground. Even just regularly practicing these three simple yoga poses a few times a week could make a big difference in your energy and stress levels.” –Emma Rose
September is National Yoga Month, a practice which aims through meditation, moral guidance, and physical exercise to achieve physical, mental and spiritual unification. It is a way to bring bliss. I asked my younger sister, a yoga teacher, masseuse and osteopath, to share some simple restorative moves that anyone can use in moments where stress, depression, anxiety, impatience, frustration, anger or other unwelcome feelings rise.
EMMA’S FAVOURITE FALL RESTORATIVE POSES
Supta Baddha Konasana | Reclined Bound Angle Pose
[#Nationalyogamonth : Fall Restorative Poses 🍂 | Supta Baddha Konasana | Reclined Bound Angle Pose] I teamed up with my big sister @leotielovely on her post about soulful ways to slow down for fall on @numiorganictea ‘s blog (link to story in their profile) to share my favorite fall restorative poses. Supta Baddha Konasana is one of my favorite poses! I love to begin and end my practice with this posture because it’s restorative and hip and heart opening. Taking time to slow down and let yourself be supported is super important when you find yourself rushing around and feeling stressed. This pose can be done without props but by using a bolster or a rolled up blanket under your back you add in a supported back bend and heart opening. The blocks underneath the knees help take any stress out of the groin and knees. Your hips will open further if they aren’t feeling strained. To soak up the restorative quality in this pose use an eye pillow or scarf- anything that puts some very gentle pressure on your eyelids, helps relax the eyes and the muscles that move the eyes. Let yourself be in this pose for at least a few minutes to allow the muscles to fully relax and your body to sink deeper into the pose. #yoga #restorativeyoga #suptabaddhakonasana #reclinedboundanglepose #supportive #heartopener #hipopener
Paschimottonasana | Supported Seated Forward Fold
[#nationalyogamonth : Fall Restorative Poses | Paschimottonasana | Supported Seated Forward Fold] I teamed up with my big sister @leotielovely on her post about soulful ways to slow down for fall on @numiorganictea ‘s blog (link to story in their profile) to share my favorite fall restorative poses. Paschimottonasana is fairly common in most hatha/ vinyasa yoga classes, usually practiced near the end of the class to stretch the hamstrings and back. You can take this deep and intense stretch of the whole back body and make it restorative by adding in the support of a bolster, blocks or a blanket. You can even put a rolled up blanket under the knees if having the legs straight is too much intensity. If you have difficult maintaining a long spine as you sit up with the legs extended forward, try sitting up on the edge of a bolster or blanket; this helps tilt the pelvis into a more neutral position. The supported restorative version of paschimottonasana might allow you to relax and take some of the intensity and discomfort out of the pose. The intensity will build as you stay here for a long period of time. You will feel how deep of a stretch you got after releasing out of the forward fold. Such a great pose to practice if you have mild lower back pain, or if you find yourself sitting a lot. Hold for a few minutes or longer to fully absorb the benefits of this posture! #paschimottonasana #forwardfold #restorativeyoga #relax #restore #supportive #yoga
Viparita Karani | Legs Up The Wall Pose
[#nationalyogamonth : Fall Restorative Poses | Viparita Karani | Legs Up The Wall Pose] I teamed up with my big sister @leotielovely on her post about soulful ways to slow down for fall on @numiorganictea ‘s blog (link to story in their profile) to share my favorite fall restorative poses. This posture is a restorative inversion also known as the fountain of youth pose! It’s a great pose to help ground, nourish and calm the body. Inversions are very beneficial for the body by reversing the constant effects of gravity while helping to regulate blood pressure, drain fluids, and improve digestion. Not everyone is ready for a headstand or some of the more advanced/ energetic inversions in yoga. This is one inversion that everyone should be able to comfortably practice. Legs up the wall helps to drain some of the fluid and lymph build up in the lower body, bringing it back towards the head and the heart. The only prop you really need is a wall, but there are many different variations of this pose that you can play with to make it even more relaxing, and add some hip opening and a gentle back bend. By placing a bolster under your hips and pelvis you create a little more lift for the body. You can also use a strap around the thighs to help the legs stay together and allow them to relax further. This pose will stretch the hamstrings gently and you may get a stretch for the lower back depending on how tight you are. If you want to add some hip opening you can find cobblers pose with the legs by bending the knees and allowing them to fall apart as the feet touch and slide down the wall. Or keep the legs straight but allow them to fall apart finding a “V” shape with the legs on the wall. Spend at least a few minutes in this pose or stay as long as 10 minutes to really sink into the restorative benefits! Sometimes I offer this pose as an alternative to savasana and a nice way to end a practice. #restorativeyoga #legsupthewall #viparitakarani #supportive #relax #restore