“Letting go is not the loss of anything, it creates space to discover who you really are”
I love rituals. They anchor me into my intentions and have a magical way of leaving me feel connected to something greater than myself.
Interestingly, as the year comes to an end one of my rituals won’t be writing down a list of goals. I get a sense they would only get in the way. I prefer to lead life from my belly. My intuitive guidance. My mind can’t possibly know all the answers. There has to a be a bigger energy at play. Plus what’s the point of having a goal if my intuition decides to pull me into another direction. I trust in the process and flow of divine guidance interlaced with my intuitive instincts and actions. My life then has a magical way of unfolding organically and effortlessly in front of me (well nearly always if my mind doesn’t get in the way).
Intentional rest and letting go:
So my preferred ritual for the end of the year is a restorative yoga “letting go and integration” practice ( pictured below) which I’ll be doing for one hour a day for 7 days over the holidays. Yep, laying on my yoga mat in relaxation pose with a few props and focusing on nothing but my breath. Easy in theory, sometimes a little tricky in practice.
The higher purpose to digest, integrate and let go of whatever no longer serves who I am today on all levels – physically – emotionally – intellectually.
The best part, I don’t even need to know what it is I’m letting go of or integrating.
I trust totally my body knows what it needs to do when I give it my therapeutic breath, time and the space for intentional rest and permission to let go.
My focus is simple. Breathe continuously into my body, past the collar bones and allow my breath to penetrate deeply into my organs, muscles and cells. Moving the breath intuitively to wherever it needs to flow. Breath by breath I feel subtle releases from my body as I’m able to relax, let go and sink even more deeply into my yoga mat.
When I breath into the tensions I’ll be letting go of stuck emotions.
When I breath into the restless energy I’ll be letting go of passed agitations.
When I breath into the racing thoughts I’ll be letting go of the past and future worries.
When I breath into my belly I’ll be letting go of anxiety
When I breath into my liver I’ll be dissolving residual anger
When I breath into my kidneys I’ll be dissolving lingering fears
Being still and focused only on your breath and body has profound and beautiful consequences. I’d so love it if you could join me and share you’re experience. I’m starting today – right now in fact.
** If one hour a day is too much then please, please, please do a minimum of 20 minutes a day. This will have life changing effects on your neurological and physiological energy systems over time.**
Props that may help:
Know there is no right nor wrong way to do this. The key is for your body to feel safe, warm and comfortable laying on your yoga mat by using blankets, cushions, yoga bolsters, books, eye pillows, towels or whatever works for your body on that day. It may change each day. What felt comfortable yesterday may not feel comfortable today. Ask your body.
You might like to:
1. Add a yoga eye pillow (or folded towel) across your eyes. I find this incredibly relaxing for my eyes and mind. Plus it reduces eye stimulation from a brightly lit room. Important.
2. Support your neck and head well. Wiggle your head so you have length at the back of your neck. Add an extra blanket under your head if needed. Chin should tilt slightly towards the heart but not too much as to close or bunch the throat.
3. Super important to keep warm so cover yourself in a blanket. You will get cooler.
4. Roll a blanket/bolster/towel under your knees if you feel any discomfort in your lower back. You can even place a rolled blanket under you ankles if that feels right for you.
5. A single folded towel or blanket under your hands, wrists and lower part of your arm is divine. Elbow should be slightly lower than wrist. This subtle adjustment can help deepen the relaxation experience. I love it.
6. A yoga eye pillow gently resting in the palms of each of your hands is simple yet magical.
Here’s a few other articles which you might find helpful:
If your worried about the time then I can happily recommend the Insight Timer meditation app which I personally love and will be using for my letting go ritual. One of the features which I find extremely useful is the option to journal or jot down a few words after your relaxation/meditation. Perfect for those memorable aha! moments.
If you’d like to find out more here’s the link to an article I wrote earlier this year.
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I can’t begin to explain how fabulous this book is. Yoga for Emotional Balanceby Bo Forbes clinical psychologist and yoga teacher.
Bo has combined her years of clinical psychology practice with yoga therapy and restorative yoga to offer simple practices to help with stress, fatigued body and mind, anxiety and depression.
Bo talks extensively about the mind/body connection and shares lots of case studies which she has gathered over 7 years explaining how effective gentle restorative yoga postures and therapeutic breathing is in stabilizing our emotions.
If you want to be a little less reactive to the world around you then this is the book for you. Carole.
Deep Rest and Walking Retreat Tuscany, Italy May 2013:
Join Carole in Italy for 6 days and 7 nights of deeply restful restorative yoga, therapeutic breathing practices , simple body meditations and walking in the hills of Tuscany.
There are 4 spots currently available for her May 25 – June 1 retreat in 2013.