Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. – Buddha
Peace, like forgiveness, cannot be rushed. Resentment, guilt, hurt and worry are notorious roadblocks to achieving peace of mind. Whenever we spin off into polarized thinking – that inner debate about right or wrong – we lose sight of the present moment. We alienate ourselves from the body and get stuck in our mind.
The path to peace begins with uniting mind and body by building a bridge between our thoughts and feelings. This sounds esoteric, and it is, but luckily thousands of years of ancient wisdom have codified tried and true methods. And they all point to the breath as the supreme peacemaker.
Create a harmonious flow of breath, just for a few moments, take more interest in your breathing than your thoughts. Feel your body give and receive with equal conviction, study this rhythm, learn from the master … with practice, peace will unfold.
Shape: Double Knees to Chest
1. Lie on your mat.
2. Bring both knees into your chest, wrap arms around legs and interlace fingers to hold shins.
3. Keep sacrum and tailbone on the mat. Gently tuck chin and find centerline. Equalize weight at left and right side of low back and on both shoulder blades.
4. Close and rest your eyes.
5. Hold for 8 breath cycles
Modification: Use a yoga strap or towel to hook around the shins. Place blanket under head.
Self-Care Benefit: It’s easy to over-indulge during the holiday season, leaving you feeling a little bloated and tight. Luckily, this shape aids in digestion and gently stretches your hips. More importantly, this shape brings your focus inward, provides some QT and promotes feelings of peace and well-being.
Meditation Technique: Inner Smile
On the Mat
1. In Double Knees to Chest, jostle your jaw a few times to release excess tension.
2. Relax your tongue heavy into the bottom of your mouth and gently expand and uplift the roof of your mouth.
3. Focus your mind on someone who is easy for you to love, perhaps a small child or beloved pet. Allow your face to soften, increase the space between your eyebrows and create a small lift at the outer corners of your mouth. Imagine subtly smiling from the inside out.
4. Make this into a breathing exercise. Inhale; increase space between eyebrows. Exhale: soften jaw.
5. Repeat for 8 breath cycles.
Off the Mat
1. Take a few moments, anytime throughout your day, while standing, seated or lying down.
2. Jostle your jaw. Clench and release your facial muscles. Make your tongue heavy.
3. Take a full minute to focus on deep sighing.
4. Spend 30 seconds to physically explore the inner smile. Subtly tilt the outermost corners of your mouth upward into a soft smile. As you play with this seemingly silly idea -be prepared to laugh, which may be the whole point!
Self-Care Benefit: The Inner Smile Technique simulates peace and love- reminding our mind and body of good feelings. We align our breath with these positive feelings and our entire nervous system attuned to these wholesome emotions. We exude the vibration of peace and love and therefore attract more of that into our lives.
Essential Oil: Lemon (Citrus limon)
Aromatherapy Technique: https://www.essentialbodywisdom.com/create-aromatherapy-rituals/
Self-Care Benefits: Lemon’s bright, sour scent calms, lightens, and refreshes. It encourages trust and security, and like Rose oil it can help to “open the heart,” by alleviating fears, burdens, dispersing confusion and easing worry. It is a “happy oil” that brings us peace.
Mantra: Aum Tare Tutare Ture Soha
Self-Care Benefit: As a salutation to Green Tara, one of the self-born Buddhas – known as “she who saves”, Aum Tare Tutare Ture Soha, validates pain, heals deep emotional wounds and ushers in feelings of peace. It is believed that a single tear from Avalokitesvara (the Bodhisattva who embodied the kindness of all Buddhas) created a Lake of Compassion. From these waters of forgiveness, Tara, known as “The Mother of Liberation” mysteriously arrived on the throne of a lotus. Stepping from this ceremonial occasion, Green Tara became a forest goddess with down to earth powers of comfort and clemency. Tara, often translated as star, is a shining light and beacon of hope for the disenfranchised elements within.
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