Really excited to have had my first article published today on teachasana.com. This is a great website to support new yoga teachers as they start out on the wonderful journey of teaching yoga. Check out the article here: http://www.teachasana.com/2012/07/5-tips-for-including-a-dharma-talk-in-class/.
Rhythm is something we all naturally have, something we are born with – and like our own personal metronome it is this rhythm that sets the pace at which we are most comfortable. Respecting and honouring our natural pace gives us the ability to more skilfully manage our energy levels and stamina as we go throughout our day. When our pace and rhythm gets disrupted the effects are quickly felt. Take for example a long distance runner, if they set out at a pace that is too fast or even too slow the ensuing run will be much more demanding and challenging, both physically and mentally, than if they were to find the balance of their natural rhythm on that given day.
Runners are often acutely aware of the correct pace for themselves and the importance of respecting this yet for the rest of us it is rare that we take the time to assess the pace at which we take each day. Instead we let the demands on us and the societal pressures to continually do more set the pace and in turn we get disconnected from own natural rhythm. The result – just like the long distance runner, our day is more demanding and challenging, both physically and mentally.
The most common resistance to slowing down and tuning in to our personal metronome is that we donÃ¢Â€Â™t have enough time in the day to stop rushing and still meet all the demands. But trust me you do. A slower more integrated pace by no means effects your productivity; in fact the opposite is true, the more you can regulate your pace the better you can manage your energy levels keeping an abundant store of steady energy all day.
So how do we reconnect with our natural rhythm and pace when we have ignored it for so long? Simple, tune into the breath – that continual natural rhythm has so much to teach us. In yoga we see the breath as your inner teacher. Observe your breath first thing when you wake up in the morning, set the rhythm of Samavritti – same length inhale and exhale. This even rhythm brings steadiness and ease to the mind and helps to keep the nervous system balanced. As you sit up in bed and take a few gentle stretches and start to count your breath, let a natural pace establish itself, it will probably be somewhere between 3 – 6 counts. As the breath gets more full and deep follow the lead of the breath as you get out of bed and stay in this even and steady rhythm as you go about the rituals of the morning. Continue to feel the pace, rhythm and depth of your breath so that you notice when you have shifted out of your natural pace: you begin to rush when you can’t find your car keys your breath becomes quicker yet shallower; you get stuck in slow moving traffic, you hold your breath starving the body of oxygen leading to a yawn which instead of interpreting as the bodies cue for you to breath more fully and deeply you instead take as an indication of tiredness and low energy and down the spiral goes. Yet when you are aware you can start an intervention, take control over your pace and energy levels by returning to the breath, returning to Samavritti and letting your natural breath count re-establish itself.
Through conscious breathing we can let this inner teacher show is the way and keep us in harmony with our natural rhythm and pace.