Yoga practices to lift your spirits

This week the class theme has been to “Show Up For Yourself”.

What does it actually mean to show up for yourself?

To me, it goes further than simply being mindful of your needs. To show up for yourself means to take responsibility and be proactive in meeting those needs. To be responsible for your own body and your own life. 

Often when we feel low we stop doing all the things that lift our spirits. It feels easier to become a passive bystander and get sucked into a vortex of negativity.

Sharing a personal story

The last few weeks I have been running on a low vibration. Lockdown, the trials of domesticity, hormones, the moon, I don’t really know why but once I got sucked into the downwards spiral, all my old negative stories started to reappear. We all have our own stories. The whiny little voices in your head telling you that you are [insert own story here] become so insistent that you start to believe them. 

I felt exhausted and stopped doing my morning practices. I lost my creative energy and felt quite empty. This lasted almost 2 weeks until, eventually, I dragged myself to a favourite yoga class and the teacher spoke about our responsibility to show up for ourselves. 

This hit a nerve and I realised it was time for me to be an active participant in my own life. The negative stories are not reality, they are not true, they are old stories from our past, usually our childhood, which recur whenever we are low an vulnerable. They really are little shits.

Luckily there are simple practices that we can do to lift us up and raise our own vibration.

Practices to raise your vibration

Influenced by my mentor, Naomi Absalom, I have been incorporating more DIY-touch and free movement into the weekly classes. It feels good and it just works. 

  • Start your practice standing still on the mat and press the thumb of one hand into the heel of the other hand. Notice the sensations of the thumb pressing into the skin. Repeat on the other side;
  • Using your fingertips or fists, tap up each arm, neck, shoulders, back of the head, top of the head, face, neck, across the chest and up and down the legs and lower back. Take time to focus on any particular areas that you feel are holding tension;
  • Gently stroke around the belly area, up over the breast bone and up each side of the neck and then face. Follow this path down again to the belly; 
  • Shake out your body, start with your hands and arms, then move into shoulders, legs, hips, the whole body. Spend several minutes shaking and moving, ideally put on a dance track with a good beat and get going! 
  • After shaking out your body, stop and stand still with the palms of your hand outstretched and notice the sensations, vibrations and heat that you have generated in your body. Perhaps place your hands on your chest and feel the beat of your heart. Feel the increase in your life force and the level of your vibration that YOU have generated simply by moving;
  • In poses, take the opportunity to tune back into the body by placing your hands on your ribcage and feel the slow, powerful breath that keeps your body alive so efficiently. 

During your practice, come back to this feeling of high vibration and energy. In each pose, ask yourself ‘what do I need to do to show up for myself’?

The answer isn’t always the most dynamic pose option and sometimes we need to scale down but it is still being proactive. You are being responsible for your own body and not simply getting into a pose because you are being instructed to do so by your teacher. 

And do you know what? It feels really good to show up for yourself.

With love,

Sara

*Photo by Kim Carpenter on Unsplash

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