Its the first of December and I am really exited at the thought of Christmas coming! The days being shorter and colder mean my love of early nights and duvet time can be fully indulged! Time to get warm, creative, quiet and focus inward. With the celebrations of Light across the season, its clear that on a very deep level we need more than a bit of internal radiance, warmth and light to burn brightly through Winter and nourish a renewed sense of self and purpose for the Spring.
SO this December I though I'd do it a little differerntly. Usually work shedules ramp up for most pre Christams break, social calenders are full to bursting and we go against every instinct to draw in and sleep to stay up late drinking and shopping ready for the festive season. By the time we end up at New Year we are a deshevelled heap with little will to face Januray let alone set bold intentions for the entire year ahead.
The 3 x 3 x 31 project is a self inflicted challenge that I invite you to join me on: to take 3 minutes at 3 points in your day, for 31 days. Little and often is more achievable and more powerful than intending to set aside 1 hour a few times a week, particualrly when working with re-patterning thoughts and mental/emotional reactions to daily life. Complement this practice with a good few yoga classes a week and I defy you to NOT shine with a calm balanced winter light! The practice aims on enabling you to connect to yourself, day by day, moment by monent- without judgement.
Rather than diving into Christmas and family time low in energy, the aim is to keep connecting to your centre of balance throughtout each day. Not for long, but with focus and dedication. By noting your own patterns and perfect imprefections, it may help to embrace family's perfect imperfections that always seem to show up after too much food and wine and cabin fever! The result will likely be - you call the shots as to whether to spend a night in, taking a bath and being creative, you notice when youre full of energy and want an energising yoga class or shine the light out socialising, and you can cook, entertain, make, give, hold up falling trees and overexited children.
3 x 3 x 31 PRACTICES
You can choose to do each of these each day for 3 minutes, or you can do the same or two of them three times per day for three minutes.
Set your alarm for 3 minutes and find a really comfortable place and way to sit at home or at work, or even the tube. You may prefer kneeling to sitting cross legged, and you may wish to rest your spine against a wall if your posture needs support. As your eyes close, draw your awareness inwards, scanning the landscape of the body, mind and emotions. Connecting to and enjoying the breath, allowing emotions and thoughts to surface and dissolve continually. Begin to anchor yourself in the still points between movements of breath and mind. You dont need to impose a sense of calmness or positivity, just let yourself hold the space of what is there for you this morment and watch/listen to what shifts, and what is constant and grounding.
2. YIN YOGA
Yin Yoga postures are designed to be held for longer, and be more restorative - calming the nervous sysrtem, slowing the breath and allowing the deeper tissues and joints in the body to release and open. I will be posting different postures from Yin sequences for inpiration. If any feel uncomfortable or unsuitable for your body then change, modify, support with props. Just being with your body and breath on the mat at home will change how you make time for yourself and prioritise being connected and energised at home.
3. SHEDDING LIGHT
There are 3 points of focus in my daily written pages that bring a little bit of sweetness and light to the darkest grumpiest of mornings, and in the evening allow me to feel energised and grounded after a long day.
1. Gratitude List: I am the first to admit - my default setting in the morning is to pull back under the duvet and grumble about getting up SO early to practice, or teach, or make breakfast for my son! This list- either mentally listed or written, pokes my grumblings in the ribs and jolts me into waking up and realising how many possibilties and really great things lie before me. Inject a bit of love and gratitude into your waking thoughts, even if it feels cheesy, and I promise you your tea will taste sweeter and you may even make yourself a really gorgeous healthy breakfast to fuel your wonderufl day ahead!
2. Mantra. The word mantra means 'mind protect' and in Yoga practice mantras are used to focus the mind on one point, and still the fragmented throughts and turbulent movements of stress, worry and emotional imbalance. We can use a sanskrit mantra or just a phrase that is helpful to us, repeating it quietly and rhymically in order to break negative or tiring mind spirals. They are not the end point or goal of mediataion, but they are useful for carrying you into a state where the mind slows enough to enter a more calm state of listening. I like to use affirmations or statements each day as a way of navigating back to my centre, reminding me of my intentions, regardless of what the day throws at me.
3. Karma. This means action, or right action in alignment with your deeper purpose or path. This can simply be a to do list (that is reasonable and achievable!) and I would look to balance work with play, giving with receiving, practical with creative. Keep it really simple. Remeber we need way more sleep and nutrients in the winter. So schedule that in too. If you have a goal, break it down into small bite sized daily pieces.
Link up with me on facebook and share any images or thoughts or mantras, and have a really really beautiful December!
WARMTH & LIGHT :)