Yin & Restorative: The art of pausing – part 2

09 December 2018 | By Ulrica Norberg

We have taken away many natural pauses in our daily living here in the West. Our fast way of life  comes with the cost of higher and higher tension- and stress levels. We also see many new diseases that are stress related.  I think one part of the answer is to add more pauses and slowing down our pace. For me it is a question of integrity. Of intention. Of asking oneself with what kind of energy I wish to wake up within two years from now. 

This is the second part of four in our yin and restorative December focus. Read part one here to get the introduction! 

Your life is the sum of your living

Life contains and involves everything. This everything possesses many definitions. Life refers to a collective phenomenon and to the ability of an individual organism to metabolize and grow, and life refers to the history of activities that an organism undertakes. Life is also the sum of our living: One’s experiences, discoveries, movement, and moments. Einstein once said that life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep our balance, we have to keep moving, keep living.

When we are constantly on the go, we lose connection with ourselves because we don't pause to recharge our batteries in a biological, natural way. It is like we demand that our batteries recharge themselves. It seems we have become disconnected to the point where we no longer identify ourselves as humans, but consider ourselves more like gods, or robots. We are driven by schedules or perceived obligations. The busy mind has taken over, and our life has become built on concepts rather than the true aliveness that allows it to emerge naturally and effortlessly. We live in a cultural poverty where we no longer know how to to take a break, and many of us believe pausing is something strange or weak.

What if we took another route? What if some answers about the growing health problems lie in doing less rather than doing more?

Unblock your prana
A Buddhist thought regarding this is that life is movement, or change. The more fluid you are, moving with movement, the more alive you become. In yoga, life is what is experienced. It's philosophy also claims that life is being expressed out in our cellular structure and it is linked together by life force: prana.

We want our life force to flow uninterruptedly within our channels in order to be in homeostasis, balance. Over thousands of years, yogis have researched through their own and others’ practice that the body, mind, and spirit work in correlation and in connection to one another. If our circulation of life gets stuck somewhere due to too much stress and tension, then what we need to do is to unlock the blockages of prana and homeostasis will return.

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.

—Mahatma Gandhi

My own path 
When I first started yoga, I was introduced to a quite physical way of doing it, in which my teachers were strict and options were limited. It was good for me at the time, not to have so many options, to limit possibilities and variations in an attempt to simplify things. After a while, however, I began to feel insecure and vulnerable in my practice, so I moved on and kept searching for a yogic approach that resonated better with me. Years passed and through many in-depth studies in various styles of yoga, my yoga practice grew and became strong and selfless. I am so utterly grateful for all the techniques I have learned and for the knowledge and wisdom I have come across through several phenomenal teachers.

In teaching yoga, I am deeply imbedded in the various aspects of the architecture of this practice and I acknowledge the importance of tradition. I try to help my students to evolve and find the keys of the practice by helping them get inside themselves through investigation and inquiry, since it is only when we allow ourselves to play with conceptions and ideas that we start to research possibilities, and through that we evolve. So see if you can be your own teacher this week. What do you know already and what do you need in order to rest more?

This week's yoga and contemplation

Begin this week by doing one thing at a time. Stop multitasking! When you are focused on one thing and giving something or someone your undivided attention, you give yourself space and time to reflect and react without distraction. With a calm mind, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed and are able to tune in to your surroundings. It heightens your senses and intuition and you get to enjoy the flavors of life while making confident decisions with mental clarity and deliberate intention.

​In the attention you give, you are building a strong foundation and connection to create the trust and value to sustain the outcome you seek. With thoughtfulness and care you also tend to create better results as less careless mistakes are made along the way, enabling you to get the job done properly. When you slow down you encapsulate the “less is more” philosophy. 

This week try to:

  • Put your phone away more often
  • Avoid listening to music and ride on your bike at the same time
  • Add more pauses and more silence
  • Read a book on your way home from work if you commute
  • Rest your brain. By doing something that adds knowledge to your living, not adding reaction and tension

For some help, ask a friend if you can support each other.

Videos of the week
Pick one of the Restorative yoga classes and one of the Yin yoga classes below and practice this twice this week. Follow up with one of the the recommended meditations right after. The other days work on balancing this class with some stability, flowing or strengthening classes.

Contemplation of the week
Ask yourself and inquire around the following questions when you have a moment before, during or after your practice:

  • What have you done today that is really good? What felt really nice?
  • When you hear ”good living” what does that mean to you?
  • Do you smile a lot? If not, why is that do you think?
  • Do one thing everyday that is new to you. Simple things like taking another road to work or drinking less coffee. Listen more when people speak. Favor silence at least an hour everyday.
  • Lay yourself on the floor at home for 20 minutes daily and listen to some great music, closing your eyes and breathing deeply. Make wishes for the future that makes you smile.

Yin, restorative & mediation videos for this week

30 min

Yoga with

Restorative yoga: Landa och vänd blicken inåt med denna lugnande återhämtande position.

60 min

Yoga with

Give your body valuable time to heal by simply taking a moment to stop, relax and rest.

60 min

Yoga with

Explore the concept of resting in the present moment in a soft yin sequence.

10 min

Meditate with

A meditation for exploring and to still your busy mind, with Amir Jaan.

20 min

Meditate with

Visit every little corner of your body to calm your mind.

Get some flow in between

45 min

Yoga with

Finding the balance between effort and ease, fearlessness and mercy as we weave through the warrior series.

20 min

Move with

Explore your ability to move in variated movement patterns.

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Ulrica Norberg

Ulrica is one of Sweden's pioneers in yoga and has written several books and articles both in Sweden and abroad. Ulrica has also educated over 500 yoga teachers in Scandinavia.

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