3 tools for reconnecting
By Simone Scott
The following are a few simple tools from the box I've developed to continue my journey of discovery. These are tools I can choose to introduce to my day, without judgement and with kindness, and acceptance that there will often be times when it's just not possible. And that's absolutely okay.
1. A simple belly breath
Something I do before rushing into the ‘must dos’ of the day, whether that’s working, washing or weeding, but can be done at any time. Set a timer – even just for five minutes – to sit and simply breathe. No need for any special pranayama techniques here, only to allow yourself the time to fully immerse in the moment.
- Find a comfortable position, whether perched on the edge of your bed, on the floor, on a chair, even in a loo cubicle at work – though somewhere where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes.
- Place one hand on your belly and the other on your heart.
- Direct your breath into your hands, feeling the expansion as you inhale and contraction as you exhale.
- Visualise yourself grounding into your space with the lower body relaxing and releasing whilst the upper body becomes free to expand and lengthen.
Your mind will inevitably wander, so, like gently calling back a wandering puppy, bring your attention back to your hands, reminding yourself this is just five minutes which you deserve to help sow these seeds of hope for a better day.
2. Slow, mindful movement
While you may feel you ‘have’ to squeeze in a full asana practice, try the ‘small win’ celebration technique with a mini session of movement. No need for any special kit – I’m often doing this one in my pyjamas, either upon waking or when I’m winding down for bed. A couple to try:
- Start with a few cat cows, before gently stepping forward to a heart-opening low lunge, extending your front leg out to an easy half split. End the sequence by slowly lowering down in to a relaxed pigeon pose. Repeat on the other side.
- A super slow sun salutation of your choice. Move slowly and mindfully throughout, checking in to notice the sensations you feel along the way. How does your breath feel? What’s happening in your body
Whilst not every practice will feel like a cause for celebration, I’m increasingly beginning to move with joy, wonder, appreciation and, most importantly for me, connection. I’m allowing myself the time and space to move with freedom and without the constraints of what the movement or asana ‘should’ look like. Cool air passing through my nostrils, a gentle wriggle here, a shoulder shimmy there, a silky stretch along my hamstring, a ripple along my spine.
Whatever your sensations, take time to connect, granting yourself the permission to celebrate each and every part of your amazing body.
The final tool I’ve introduced during both of the above – and that’s been something of a game-changer for me – is to smile. Whilst this may sound a little cheesy, research has shown that simply smiling – whether as a genuine emotional response or a purely physical expression – sends a message to the brain, releasing hormones that can positively affect mood. Smiling also relaxes the muscles on the face, easing away tensions and tightness that accumulate as a result of furrowed brows and clenched jaws. So whilst it’s not always the easiest thing to do, especially in times of great difficulty, it’s a small step that is certainly worth a try.
Time to reconnect
Have you experienced a similar story and struggled to reconnect to your practice, your body, or even to life, in the wake of the lockdown era? Share your insights and experiences with OM readers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.