A practice of reflection: What feels nourishing for you?
During our recent yoga and self-care weekend retreat in Tessin, I invited the group to reflect on the wisdom that autumn provides, the cycle of seasons and how we intuitively respond to the season’s changes by spending more time at home, with friends or family, or perhaps immersed in study.
I asked them to reflect on what’s essential. What they’d like to gather and take with them as we transition towards the colder months and what they would choose to leave behind.
As with nature, it’s time to harvest, collect, store and organise by paring down. In ancient times, it was a means of survival. Our ancestors had no choice but to follow the seasonal and yearly rhythms of nature. These days with our fast paced lifestyle, instant gratification, we tend to ignore nature’s signals and try to push through at the same tempo all year round. This can have a profound and negative impact on our natural rhythm and health cycles.
To help you tune into and reconnect to what’s essential, ask yourself: What feels nourishing for me?
Maybe this year you committed to an early morning yoga or fitness practice. For a while, you woke up early every day and powered through, feeling great and energised. Then you had a bad night, started to struggle to wake up and make it to your mat or the gym. Or something changed in your personal or professional life and your whole routine shifted and you felt as if you were wading through quicksand and unable to get traction and maintain consistency.
Then the guilt sets in, you give yourself a hard time and find yourself frustrated thinking:
“I should be doing this, it’s healthy after all, but I just can’t find the motivation.”
How do we nourish ourselves to support our yoga practice?
It could mean going to bed a little earlier, sleeping a little longer and doing a shorter practice. Or shifting your practice to a time that feels more accessible. You may feel the need to change up your practice, balancing out a more dynamic, active yang style with a more mindful, restorative or yin style that focuses on taking care of your joints and ligaments. The same approach applies to any other sport you do.
We often long for comfort from the stresses of the day or our life circumstances and find ourselves searching for an instant release reaching out mindlessly for something that will be an instant distraction and give short-lived gratification – our phones, Netflix, sugar or another glass of wine. Anything to numb and just switch off.
But what if we found comfort in nourishing ourselves?
How to nourish ourselves at the end of the day
- In the evening, run a bath with a cup of epsom salts (Bittersalz in Switzerland) and lavender essential oils, light some candles, play soft music, listen to a favourite podcast or enjoy silence. You’ll feel so much more relaxed,, creating a mindful pause before opening the fridge or reaching for a glass.
- Massage your feet with warm sesame oil rather than the cooling coconut oil that is lovely in summer.
- Set yourself up with a cozy blanket, your softest socks and savour watching Netflix. Drink a warm comforting drink in your favourite mug. Choose a film like ‘My Octopus Teacher’ and appreciate the sheer beauty, power of nature, connection and life lessons that still exist in the most unexpected places in our world.
- Read and/or journal before sleep (no electronics). Write 3 things that you’re grateful for today.
How to take nourishing pleasure breaks during the day
- If you’re struggling with seated meditation at the moment, let your mediation practice be outside, taking in the turning colours of a leaf, the damp bark of a tree, the running streams. I crossed paths with a retreat student on a walk recently and she shared that this was her practice right now – and it was just too good not to share with you!
- If you’re struggling to make sense of your work or place in the world, wrap up warm, step outside for some fresh air and remind yourself why you moved to where you are living now. Look around you, take in the sights and sounds and perhaps it will reignite your ‘why’.
- If a task or project is becoming overwhelming , stand up, feet wide, hands on hips and do big yummy hip circles and figure eight movements both ways.
- Continue to take pleasure breaks throughout the day.
Our life, our energy and our needs shift and change, just as the seasons come and go. Take time to reflect, explore and discover what good habits are still supporting you and what is holding you back. Try something different.
Keep asking the question: What feels nourishing for me? The answers may surprise you.
Finding a deeper connection to yourself allows your true essence shine through. This does not ask more of us, it requires less.
Less judgement. Less assumptions. Less opinions. Less ‘shoulding’.
Allow ‘the unnecessary’ to dissolve so that your decisions in life become easier and you feel nourished and supported.
What feels nourishing for you? Share with me or let me know what are you called to do that is different.
P.S. There are just a few places left for the Blausee Retreat, our last retreat of the year, and a perfect time to connect and help sustain your well-being before the busy holiday season begins.