Change, change, change. The leaves are turning, the air is getting cool and crisp, and we are continuing our slow transition into the darkness of winter. At Asheville Community Yoga we are no strangers to change. Each month brings a new schedule with new teachers and new students, and this very month we are opening Karma Café. Change is all around us, so much so that it seems it’s not a matter of noticing what’s changing, but rather, what’s staying the same. So with all of this change, how do we find our bearings? Yoga, of course.
Our yoga practice is an opportunity to go inward and notice what’s changing and what’s happening not only in our physical bodies, but in our minds and souls. Depending on who you are, change can feel invigorating, or it can feel draining. The practice of Pratyahara, or turning inward, is one of the Yamas or ethical guidelines that we can use for ourselves to make sure we are living in alignment with our higher selves. In times of great change often we realize we have more strength than we could ever imagine- we just need to figure out how to access that pool of strength.
It can be difficult to go inward when what’s inside feels hectic. Sometimes the quickest way to quiet our minds is to move into a quiet environment. Take a walk in a place without too much visual and sound distractions. A mindful walk in the woods can be relaxing and calming as you hear the leaves crunching under your feet. If you go with a friend or loved one suggest that you take a quiet walk and observe what’s happening around you instead of chatting. Another way of turning inward is covering your eyes and ears and humming to yourself, which is a Pranayama (breathing technique) called Bhramari or Bumble Bee Breath. If it’s comfortable cover yourself up with a blanket to keep your energy further drawing in. The reverberation of your own hum in your head not only soothes your nervous system, but can help you drop into your depths and see what’s around.
When we practice Pratyahara we are bringing balance to our inner and outer worlds. As we create more space in our inner worlds it can make it easier when changes in the outside world are happening. The more we know ourselves on the inside, the more we can know our place and find our ground in all of the change on the outside. Keep diving deep- we’ll meet you on the other side.