30 move. 10 med. 20 journal.
A variation of this is pretty much what an early morning text to my mother and sister has looked like for years. Whatever our “daily practice” is, we each capture it in this ritual of sharing. And the first part – 30 move – is where I tend to discover my day’s baseline.
My most insistent student and my best teacher come together each morning on my mat.
My early morning practice on the mat is a time of self inquiry. “Where am I at today?” is the question that leads me. Because as much as I may think I know **how I’m doing**, my body always knows much more than this brain that wants to stick to its habits, patterns, likes, and dislikes come hell or high water.
I used to think that I was beyond needing my breath as a guide. “Other people might need breath but I’m already at ease. I’m all good.“ The trouble was, I was controlling my breath. And quite frankly, I have years of practice from the control tower of “Let’s hunker down and white knuckle to get through this.” But I don’t have as much practice from the “Allowing” tower. Which would be problematic if that actually existed at an airport but is vital to contentment. So focused and intense being that I was, I was exacerbating this “control” quality of mine by demanding that my breath go in now and go out then. It appeared that my breath was all good because I forced it to look that way.
And there is more.
When I breathe and am quiet. When I move with intention and am quiet. When I move in a range of connection and am quiet. In these places of exploration, I discover what is and not what I am forcing myself to be. I dance with contentment.
“Huh – my breath today is tinny and ever so shallow. It is heavy.” Pause. Continue to feel it. Yes, that observation is pretty spot on. No need to take deeper breaths. Simply allow it to be. The tinny and shallow breath is my starting point. Now I respond to it by moving in a way that honors it for the weight that it is carrying for me.
I cannot hide from the weight of grief so this very breath is my mirror. It is an honoring of the importance of the feeling that I am doing. The tinny and shallow breath is nothing to be fixed. Grief is not to be fixed. Grief is meant to be felt. My very breath just as it is right now is meant to be felt.
Move through the practice – small therapeutic movements, stillness, component pieces of yoga poses, full poses. I offer compassion to my shallow and tinny breath by moving in a range that does not put more demands upon it when it is already doing so much good and very hard work for me.
To that question, “Where am I at today?” come quiet responses that trickle through as I move.
“My right leg feels heavy. My feet feel light. My feet feel cold. My tongue feels thick. My left rib cage feels bumpy and catches when I come deeply into hip flexion. My throat feels closed. My right shoulder feels a bump when I bring the arm up too high. My head feels heavy and wants to tip backward.”
Nothing to fix. Everything to feel. And everything to honor. I choose to not force further into that tension or this sticky or that bumpy, but to stop just before it. I accept the range of my body that it offers me with ease. Exploring what is. Exploring contentment.
At the end of the practice, my breath feels not nearly as tinny. My inhale and exhale feel more even. My feet feel solid to the ground. My hips feel softer. My shoulders feel broader. My head feels balanced on my shoulders and not tipped back any longer. My rib cage is moving of it’s own volition with my natural breath. My throat feels more open. And so much more.
Noticeable shifts when I quiet to feel them. Gifts from my body in response to my love and acceptance of where it was at. Where it is now at. And new information to carry forth into my day.
The information is endless and my power is limitless when I embrace the quiet, the stillness, the wisdom that seeps from inside to out. Breathe naturally, move well, feel in, discover more, and meet what you’ve discovered with compassion. If you’re willing to dive into your Being, your body will reward you with ever deepening resilience, strength and agility.
May you find joy in the power of discovery.
May you find freedom in the power of choice.