Hello and Happy Monday,
The fall weather is here - sort of. I am loving the cool mornings, the warm (ok ok, hot) afternoons and the windows open at night. I have always loved when the seasons go through changes and it's always a time that signals to me that I need to make changes too. Sometimes the changes are new, and sometimes it's getting back into a routine that I have been neglecting.
We can learn how to practice pratyahara, sense retention or withdrawal, by paying attention to nature. Pratyahara isn't ignoring our feelings, people around us, or what is happening in the world. It's finding the space in between our emotions, how others are behaving around us, the environment in which we live, and creating our responses to life. Being able to find the space to choose our response instead of letting the stimulation take over and we react. How I want to be better at that!
Nature does this. The seasons change, the plants grow, the clouds come and go. The trees don't get offended when they are growing their roots and there are other roots in the way - they just keep growing. They aren't worried about their limbs being too long, too short, too fat, too skinny, they just are. Fall isn't worried that Summer will be upset if Fall arrives early or late, or just in the morning.
Nature does something else for us too to help us practice pratyahara, it helps us stop and breathe. Have you ever stood at the foot of a tunnel of trees? Or looked out on the ocean, or the top of a mountain after a hike, or a waterfall, or open fields, or star gazing at night, you get the point. Doing this reminds us to breathe. Doing this always reminds me of what really matters and that the things I'm "going through" or "dealing with" are so very small. It helps me create space between me and what is.
Truth be told, writing these weekly blogs about the Astanga Eight Limb path has helped me practice these lessons each day and really shine a light on what I would like to focus on more. I'd love to tell you that I have mastered some of them, but the truth is, I am working on all of these in some aspects all the time. My hope is that whether you know of these philosophies or not, they help you also practice them.
P.S. Some of you might already know, I have created space to focus on me. I had been contemplating this move for the last two years and finally took the leap. My last day with Radiance Yoga in Old Town will be October 16. This means more time at the Greenhouse - and more offerings for all of you.