“Peace is every step” according to dear teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. When it comes to walking towards a goal, there are two common approaches. First, we may choose to reward challenging processes that we accomplish more than taking note of if we are walking peacefully. Secondly, we may think that after we reach our goal, then there will be pure happiness, without any outside interference to disturb the state.
In yoga, one of the traits we aim to develop within us is peace. We work on inner peace, being at peace with ourselves. If we return to our common approaches, we may think that we can only reach a peaceful state after we accomplish big challenges, after we run fast enough. Or we may think that peace is a pure state, after we reach it there will be no more chaos to cast a cloud on it. Both ideas come from a mind that wants to conquer, gives more importance to tomorrow’s victory than today.
But the reality is if we have a goal, the easiest way to reach it is embodying that goal. We cannot arrive at a peaceful state by running. If we embody peace in our every step, then the problem of arriving dissolves. We do not need to arrive anymore to feel peace, because we know how to incorporate peace in each moment. Eventually, as we shape each moment according to our intention, a peaceful life follows naturally.
This way, not only do we honor today, but also, we free “peace” from being subject to any particular condition in life. Wherever we are, we can turn to our choice of walking peacefully.
Life is subject to change. Everything, and everyone around us is changing constantly. When this flow is all around us, we cannot force “peace” to stay still when we reach it. Accepting that our notion of peace will change along the way and that we will always encounter change within ourselves and in our lives is critical. It may be best to focus on “how it feels now, what can I do now, for the peaceful life I want to create?”.
When we check the etymological roots of word “peace” in Turkish, we see that “peace” shares the same root with the word “ready”. Thus, the contentment and tranquility come from being ready for life at any moment.
No need to arrive anywhere, no unrealistic expectations from peace, we become peace by being ready for life every moment however it comes to us. May the following earth element sequence help us embrace every moment with kindness just like the earth embracing rain and sunshine into her heart. I wish you an insightful practice!
- Yoga mat
- 2 Blocks
- Pillow or Blanket
Lying Face Down (5 min)
Start by lying face down on your mat. Choose a comfortable place for arms and hands. Arms may be on the sides of the body or hands may be under the forehead. Feel the points of contact with the earth. With every inhalation feel the front body and with every exhalation let your body relax.
Cat and Cow
Come onto Table Pose for a couple of rounds of Cat-Cow. Use your inhales to drop the belly and reach the heart and gaze forward, and your exhales to round the spine to the sky and let the weight of the head drop.
Gecko Pose (3 min/side)
Place a blanket under the knees. Slowly bring right foot between the hands, then to the outside of the right hand. Place the left knee backwards. Place the right toes with a 45-degree angle to the front side of the mat. Make sure your right shin is perpendicular to the floor, right knee just above the right ankle. You can also place your left knee on a pillow. You can stay on your hands or come onto your elbows.
To come out of the pose, tuck the left toes, slowly bring left knee forward, then come back to Table Pose. Rest by lying face down then continue with the left side.
Reclined Deer Pose (4 min/side)
Place a small cushion on top of the mat, then place your bolster on the cushion. Roll a blanket to make it into a small cushion for your head. Sit in front of the bolster. Bring your body weight to your right side and bring the top of the left foot on the floor by the left hip. Slowly lie down on your bolster to enjoy nice stretch in the left thigh and the front body.
Slowly come up, bring the left leg forward, then change sides.
Child’s Variation (4 min)
Slowly sit on your heels, then make fists with your hands. Place your fists between the ribs and iliac crests and fold forward to Child’s Pose. Relax the elbows. You can place your head on a block or a cushion.
Slowly rise up to come out of the pose, rest the hands on the thighs for a minute.
Bridge (5 min)
When you feel ready, lie down on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor. Lift the hips up to place a cushion underneath the hips. You can extend the arms backwards and legs forward to enjoy a nice stretch in the front body. Or you may keep the knees bent and arms on the sides to continue with a gentle stretch.
To come out of the pose, bend the knees, bring the feet on the floor. Gently lift the hips up to remove the cushion, slowly bring the hips onto the floor. Stay here for 1 minute, and then come to Fetal Pose for another 1 minute to rest.
Deer Twist on a Bolster (4 min/side)
Sit cross legged and place your bolster on the right side of your hips. Place your right elbow on the bolster to shift your body weight rightwards and bring the top of the left foot on the floor by the left hip. Then lie face down on the bolster, your arms are at the sides of the bolster.
Come up, bring the left leg forward to sit cross legged. Close your eyes to look within and observe. When you feel ready, continue with the left side.
After the left side, come up and sit cross legged once again.
Savasana (5 min)
When you feel ready, find a shape that feels restful and land into your final savasana.
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