After a few minutes, I'll lie my heart flat on the surface beneath me, while I reach my hands up towards the top of the bed... stretching my back, shoulders, low spine... pressing my hips towards my ankles. Listening to my heart beat beneath me.
This pose, Uttana Shishosana, is typically difficult for me... the whole "placing my heart on the floor or bed or whatever is beneath me" pose and my body tends to tense up in the beginning... so I sit with it. Breathing into it and willing my muscles to let go and my heart to open up to this new day.
After I've relaxed and let go of the initial tension in my body, I'll roll back over, kiss my honey and then rise to meet the morning with eyes open. I like to wake up slowly like this because it gently reminds me to start the day with presence, instead of just jumping up and running to the next task or to-do list that awaits me.
I then tiptoe to my bathroom and open the window, brush my teeth, scrape my tongue, and wash my face. The air in the house is calm, the sky still a little grayish before moving toward orange, pink and blue. Have you noticed that nature in the mornings is typically very calm? I notice it every morning that I send Voyageur's guests out on canoe trips. The earlier you get going, the less wind in your face as you paddle. It's interesting... so I try to rise calm too... just like nature.
Most days, I tiptoe to my yoga room where I make myself comfortable on my blankets or pillows or whatever I'm using at the time to lift my hips slightly above my knees while sitting in my pose of choice. I set my Enso timer, close my eyes and begin to meditate. First I become aware of my breath. I notice it's pace and it's depth and I watch it. Then I hear what's around me. The breeze in the trees, a bird outside, the hum of electronics in our house. If I've made it this far, I practice Vipassana Mediation, becoming aware of the sensations of my body... starting with the top of my head and making my way down my body.
Most days, before I can get much deeper, I hear Mikes alarm clock go off and then I sense his rising and walking to the bathroom. Or I hear my dogs get excited and run up the stairs. Sometimes I hear the phone ring... our employees have questions about the day or a friend is calling to wish me good morning. I try not to think about how I forgot to leave a to-do list out for my employees. Again. I try not to think about how Mike is probably irritated that I used the last of the toothpaste. I try not to think that I need to buy some more....
Most days, I turn off my timer, unfold my legs and go answer the phone, or hug my sweetheart, or feed our pets.
The truth is, most days, if I can get a full 10 minutes in, I am hungry for more but also so grateful.
I can’t explain the magic of these mini-meditations or even the power and simplicity of the intention behind them, regardless the amount of sitting time, but I can tell you that it’s for real. It’s like a drug. Even a few breaths and some body awareness changes the quality of the day. Makes me nicer to people. Makes me happier for each moment of my day. Makes me feel more connected to nature and the universe. Literally slows me down and opens my eyes.
I’m magically more patient with others, open to various viewpoints, compassionate and enthusiastic. Happy. Aware. Content and connected to something bigger and brighter than I typically allow myself to believe I am, and that connection shines through a little clearer.
I say all this to encourage you to try a few minutes too. As a woman, a type A personality, a small business owner, and having recently suffered loss, I understand those who feel they have no time, who are exhausted mentally, emotionally, physically and who feel stretched too thin, pressed too hard. I've been there.
I know what it feels like to feel lonely, to make what you fear are possibly terrible decisions, to feel guilt, to feel out of shape, to feel unhappy, to wish you’d said something else, to feel out of control.
I also know how it feels to simply notice that you’re feeling those temporary, untrue, unreal things and allow them to go away from you... to stay in the past. To see—even if for just a minute or two—that beneath those feelings, you’re pure and good and better than you often allow yourself to believe.
You don’t have to do a handstand or ever sweat in a yoga class or put a foot behind your head (though it’s true that those things are fun to try and when you let go of your perceptions you might just experience some amazing and powerful new things.)
You don’t need expensive yoga clothes or a designer yoga mat. You don’t have to have an hour to meditate. You can have a few sacred moments everyday and that can be enough to notice a little shift in the pieces that create your life.
Won’t you try it?