Yesterday I came face to face (well, almost) with this beautiful swan which, while I was again taking a meditative walk around the local lake, swam over the bank to see me. I am fascinated by swans and not just because I bear their name. To me, they epitomise grace and calm, floating on the water, while paddling away underneath, seemingly well balanced and in harmony with their surroundings.
They are large, powerful birds, potentially dangerous, especially if you happen across one sitting on the nest or guarding their young. But they are graceful too, with their wonderful white feathers, their long necks and their flowing movement as they glide through the water, their bodies showing no sign of the movement of their legs and webbed feet moving under the surface of the water. They are loving and loyal, mating for life. Their young, cygnets, are grey and fluffy and, as they grow, undergo their transformation from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan.
Balance and harmony are important to my life and particularly to my yoga teaching. If you go to a yoga class, you’ll probably appreciate what I’m talking about. We can arrive tired and stressed. We may have been rushing around. We may feel we have too much to do and not enough time to even turn up to a class. Making that time, taking some time out for ourselves is so important in our often hectic and frenetic lives.
Why? You may ask. Well, we rush from here to there, deal with work, partners, children, juggle family and social lives, plus a thousand and one other things, or so it may seem. We may think that it’s selfish to take some time for ourselves when we have so much to do and other people need us. Perhaps that sounds familiar.
If you practise yoga, you’ll know that, however stressed or tired when you arrive for your class, you’ll leave feeling refreshed and relaxed. And not just in body. Your mind and emotions will be calmer, you’ll feel more grounded and more centred. Your energy levels will improve and, if that’s not enough, you’ll feel more in touch with your inner self, your true being.
Yes, you may be thinking, that’s all well and good when I’ve got so much to do, but how is that going to help me? Well, if you’re feeling calmer and more relaxed, you’ll have your feet on the ground, literally and metaphorically. You’ll be more able to see the situation you’re in more clearly and be better able to make decisions about what you want to do. You’ll feel better physically, your mind will be clearer and you’ll have more energy, so that time you took for yourself will pay your dividends. If you’re focused on helping family and friends, it’s healthy and helpful to look after yourself first. If you’re not well and you don’t look after your own wellbeing, how will you be able to help others?
There are lots and lots of reasons why yoga can help us. It’s also a great stress buster and many of us need a little help with that from time to time. Importantly, it focuses our awareness on being in the present, being mindful, slowing down the thought waves in the mind, helping us let go of the ego that can dominate in our lives. If we let go of some of the things we don’t really want and need, we find the space to allow in the things we do want. Better physical and mental health, more energy and an awareness that allows us to concentrate and focus our attention positively and for the good. And we may then find that some of that balance and harmony flows back into our lives, along with some peace and love.
For me, these are excellent reasons to bring some yoga practice into your life. If you’re interested, I’d love to hear from you.
© Sarah Swan (4 October 2017)