September… seems to have more stress than the beginning of January. Wow, we have the summer to slow down, schedules change, kids go to camp, the sun is out, more day light, vitamin D!!! Then, for some reason, we jump right in after Labor Day. School, holidays, sports, you name it. Do we realize this is a big hamster wheel, the more we add, the faster we run. The more organizing, more multi-tasking, more people we hire to do the things we can’t do ourselves, the less present we become. What does that mean? We become less sensitive, less aware of the subtle signals occuring inside, and focus more on the bombardment of stimuli moving in through our ears and eyes at a dizzying pace.
We always talk about slowing down, but that isn’t the whole picture. To truly slow down is not just to sit down on the couch and stop doing. Instead, can you become more acutely aware of all that happens in front of you? Can you begin to experiment and watch things going on in your life, like you are watching a movie? Now I am not saying, disconnect, and stay disconnected, but slow down enough to observe that which is happening, and then what you feel as you watch. It can be as basic as what does your skin feel like? Is it relaxed, and smooth on your face, upper back, belly, or is it tense, wrinkled and tight? Nothing more, nothing less.
Practice during your next yoga class. Begin to watch your skin and how it reacts to what you do or not do. Think of your skin as an acutely sensitive envelope, try to smooth and stretch this envelope evenly, intently and consciously. Focusing on something so basic and personal as our own skin, helps draw the awareness back to our internal signals, even as the external stimuli of class occur around us. The more we practice this type of awareness in class, the easier and more natural it will become in our day to day lives.