The Art of Slowing Down & Diving Deeply

The golden summer weather of yesterday has shifted to a cool breeze that is whispering through the trees of mysteries to come, and I feel a call to stillness that reminds me of slower seasons and quieter days.  This year has been incredibly full in the most wild, and the most wonderful ways, yet the pace has been quick and there has not been a lot of space between activities. There has been very little time to pause, to reflect, and to digest.
And so it seems my work this year is to master the art of diving deep in the moments that I do have. To learn how to unwind busyness and movement in just a few quiet breaths if that is all that I can take. And make no mistake this is an art, a skill that needs to be cultivated, through practice, over a long period of time.  The time I have put in on my yoga mat and my meditation cushion have allowed me to create a foundation that will now support me in these times of more extreme activity, but I cannot rest on my laurels either. Inner stillness is a garden that needs tending daily otherwise the weeds will take over in the form of anxiety, sleeplessness, fatigue, and strain.  Nobody gets away with not practicing for long, no matter how advanced his or her practice is!
When I go to the studio to teach these days I see that many of the people around me are also feeling the effect of too much movement and activity. Their bodies are sore, and tired, and they are craving the nourishment that their practice offers them.  It seems my job as a teacher these days is to remind them to nourish themselves as much as to offer them the tools to do so.
My own nourishing practices of choice these days are my morning meditation, done before the world wakes up around me, and early beach walks with my dog. A cup of tea enjoyed in silence, no computer, not even a book to distract me. Short, sweet, and deep practices of hip openers, and reclining poses, or resting with my legs up on the wall. Taking the time to prepare food in my kitchen to feed my family, when nobody else is in the house, and I can listen to the stillness without interruption. I am fitting these nourishing practices in where I can, in between teaching classes, packing boxes, organizing our big move, planning my winter schedule, and keeping up with the day to day work of running a small business on my own. This is the life of a householder and it is easy to say at the end of the day that there was no time for self-care, but the truth is there are many quiet little moments that are just begging us to step into them fully. There are windows of time in which we can all put aside the chores, or close the computer, to pause and enjoy the simplicity of silence, even if it is just one minute. We can all take one minute here and there to drink in stillness, and listen to the wind in the trees, or the sounds of our children playing, or the rhythm of our own hearts beating.  Perhaps you could even take this moment now? Feel stillness calling you to slow down and let yourself dive in, let yourself be nourished deeply so that you can bring a renewed sweetness to your activity. Don’t wait for a better moment. Dive in now.