Unfolding on the Mat
Expanded Content and Thoughtful Guidance
How much do you love waiting? I don’t mean the fun, anticipatory waiting like for the start of a movie--I mean the finger-drumming, “when’s it going to be time??” waiting. I’ll admit, I’m not a fan. But I’m getting better at it.
In this week’s podcast, I tell a funny story about waiting as a fruit of maturity, and I offer calming breath instruction and mantra help you release your agenda and be open to the timing of the Universe.
We do get better with waiting as we age, but maybe that’s just because we don’t really have to wait much--especially not these days (thank you, Amazon :). Most of us have been around long enough to know that with enough time and right effort, “good things come to those who wait.”
But how about some of that deeper stuff? How do you do with waiting for
These are tougher. This is where we have to exercise that patience muscle.
Or do we? What if instead of requiring fierce determination and great effort, patience was easy and beautiful? What if it were there all along? What if patience were a natural outcome of your yoga practice?
This is how I prefer to think of it.
One of the things I love from my Judeo-Christian background is the Biblical teachings of the Fruits of the Spirit. These fruits are defined as Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Kindness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control (Anyone keeping score? That’s nine...and yes, I can rattle them off like the alphabet, I love them so much.)
This means they are what naturally happens when you are connected to Spirit more often than not. In the yoga context, when you do your yoga practice (which is not just asana but also meditation, pranayama, and ethical disciplines) consistently, over a long period of time, without interruption, you will become more patient. The idea of waiting for your body to heal will become as natural as breathing. You will have the freedom between stimulus and response to wait for clarity and wisdom. You will identify with the hope within you more than the suffering of waiting.
A dear friend of mine gave me The Book of Qualities, by J. Ruth Gendler. With her words, she paints a picture of different human experiences and gives them a character you can see. Here’s how she describes Patience:
“Patience wears my grandmother’s filigree earrings. She bakes marvelous dark bread. She has beautiful hands. She carries great sacks of peace and purses filled with small treasures. You don’t notice Patience right away in a crowd, but suddenly you see her all at once, and then she is so beautiful you wonder why you never saw her before.”
Awww, she is warm and beautiful and she was there the whole time. We just have to recognize her in the crowd of our experience.
May your daily practice of yoga reveal the beautiful, bread-baking, peaceful fruit of Patience.
Today I’m asking how well you operate in chaos. Even when you read the word ‘chaos,’ how does your body respond? Does it sound like a thrill ride or horror movie? Or, are you more like me, and think, “well, it depends.”
In my experience, short bouts of chaos, disorder, or confusion can be fun and even hilarious. (Ever been to a tee-ball game? How about middle school play rehearsal?)
But there are bigger, more long-lasting life-disruptors that feel like chaos and can really take a whack at your well-being, such as
Things are changing fast, there’s no playbook, and there’s no end in sight. It’s chaos. You just want things to settle back to “normal.”
What if I told you chaos has a place in our lives? Straight out of the Big Bang Theory (the theory, not the TV show), we learn that just after the Bang there was a brief time of chaos, (Science Daily) then the universe started to find order. (And aren’t we glad!?)
Our bodies are the same! It turns out, underneath the brilliant organization of cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems that make up our body, there is a little protein named NF-kB who loves chaos. According to a 2019 Science Daily article, “chaotic swings in the concentration of the protein...can increase the activation of a number of genes that are otherwise not activated. In other words, when in a chaotic state, the NF-kB protein is most effective at activating genes and optimally "tuning" the immune system.”
So this underlying chaos is tuning our immune system?
Taken on a larger scheme, perhaps the chaotic times in our lives tune our resilience, or mental/emotional immune system.
The practice is to maintain Yoga, or remain yoked to what is eternal, so we don’t get jerked around by the temporal chaos that life can sometimes be or feel like. The messes of life don’t go away, but they have less of an effect on us when we keep proper perspective and give the chaos a container. We keep our surroundings tidy, we keep our body toned, stretched, watered, fed, and slept. The chaos will be there, but it won’t be such a disrupting force in our day. Chaos isn't going anywhere, so we best learn how to deal with it!
In this week’s podcast, I talk about the effects of chaos and how it can be hard to focus and to be in your body. I also take you through some directed attention and breath, considering what is your current mental state. The intention is inner peace.
May you accept chaos as an underlying part of life, and always practice yoga to remain yoked to inner peace.
This quote from the 1995 Sabrina movie comes to my mind quite frequently, like those times when I think about adding more activities to my schedule, or taking one more thing at the buffet.
"More isn't always better--sometimes it's just more."
In this week's podcast Episode 77: "Do Less," I talk about how LESS can be more. Less intake, less output, less effort, or less distraction might actually create space for MORE of what is life-giving and nourishing, body, mind, and spirit.
It got me thinking--where does this need for MORE come from? (Don't get me wrong--there are TONS of times when MORE is necessary. But through the practice of discernment you might come to find there are equally as many times that LESS is more, it's just not often celebrated in our go-get 'em society.)
Perhaps our need for MORE comes from
So what comes from applying LESS to these situations?
Doesn't that list make you smile? Can't you feel yourself relax when you read those words? See! Less CAN be more :)
The first three feelings are directly related to a healthy and balanced Chakra One. Knowing that you have enough, trusting that your needs will be met, and an overall sense of grounded calmness come from being rooted in the present moment and out of the fearful illusions of the mind. From that foundation you build upward to Third Chakra's strong self-esteem and Fourth Chakra's full-on joy!
CHAKRA Savvy: Embodiment is my Chakra One three-week online course where you learn to calm the anxiety and worries of the mind so you can stop doing MORE than is right for a balanced life. You will learn practices of abundance and ground out your fears around scarcity.
Here's what Lorenna, who participated in the Embodiment trial run said,
"I was surprised by the shift in energy. I felt so much more focused, and connected with the abundance in my life; more in tune with the wisdom of my body, and deeply connected to the earth."
I so wholeheartedly believe that once you experience feeling balanced in Chakra One, you will want to experience balance in the rest of your system. Therefore, I am offering all students of this Embodiment launch
10% off all future CHAKRA Savvy courses!
From Embodiment in Chakra One, to Release in Chakra Two, and Confidence in Chakra Three, all the way to Clarity and Wisdom at the top. The journey starts now! Getting in at the ground level means 10% off all the other courses. **Registration ends February 9, so enroll today! Scroll down for more info and frequently asked questions.**
Here's a few ways to find out if you need to apply LESS in your life right away:
Let me know how it goes! I love hearing about how your life is improved by yoga.
May you realize this week that "more isn't always better...sometimes it's just more."
Jessica lives, has a family, and teaches yoga in Austin, Texas.