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Like Bird Wings

by Milissa on March 6, 2011

in Breath,Health,Nutrition,Philosophy,Seasons,Yoga

It’s been a long, hard winter, hasn’t it? And not just because of the 70 inches of snow that’s fallen, and the extreme cold we’ve endured. The inner winter has been equally taxing for many.

A long winter adds to the stresses of life and wears people down. Recently, I’ve heard some yoga students lamenting about how they’ve started smoking again, after quitting for a long time, and I feel their pain. My friends who are buried in grief and disappointment from dissolving relationships need my care and kindness. I am nurturing myself back to vitality with optimal nutrition and extra rest, after hitting empty on the energy meter.

It seems that these winter months have given us little possibility of escape into diversions, and many of us have been brought to our knees. The good news is that sometimes we won’t work through difficult patterns in ourselves unless we can’t avoid dealing with them. So, “Bring it on!” I say (through clenched teeth). I’m just so grateful I have a spiritual toolbox to help me navigate these troubling times.

I have found it to be true that there’s no way out of painful states but through. It takes extra lovingkindness, pampering, patience, and support from whatever you choose to call it: Source, the Divine, Universal Love. Good nutrition, ample rest, stress relief and fun are also part of the healing.

If you’re feeling burnt out, beat down, lost, I encourage you to take some time in the following restorative yoga posture and put yourself in the universal stream of unconditional love, where you can be reminded that all is well. Even short periods of remembering this on a cellular level will begin to shift your state to one of greater acceptance, gentleness with yourself, and grace.

Supported Fish (Matsyasana)

Sit on your yoga mat with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Roll a firm blanket from the short end and place it behind your back. Put your elbows on the blanket and lower yourself over the prop with your arms out to the sides in a “T” position. The shoulder blades are supported by the blanket while the tops of the shoulders roll off the side of the rolled blanket to the floor. You might need to adjust the height of the blanket by unrolling a bit from the end.

You will probably also need a rolled towel or neck pillow to support the curve of your neck. The back of the head rests on the floor. Keep your knees bent and your low back supported by the earth.

This is quite an open position. Breathe into your heart center. Meet any grief that arises with lovingkindness. A minute or two is probably enough. Be gentle with yourself.

To transition, roll mindfully to your side. Rest in the fetal position or child’s pose. Feel care for yourself, as you would your only child.

Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror up to where you’re bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look and instead, here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.

If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birdwings.

Jalaluddin Rumi, excerpt from Mathnawi

To plant the seeds of new growth for spring join me for the Half-Day Restorative Yoga & Mindfulness Retreat March 19. Spring is just around the corner, Aaaah!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

paula March 6, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Milissa,
Timely and profound. Thanks.

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