Weekly Practice Dec. 13-19: Patience as a Sacred Practice
This weeks practice is intended to support the cultivation of patience in our daily lives. Whether it is during a conversation, walking down the street, mastering a new asana or awaiting the unfolding of your big beautiful dreams, patience is your ally. Many of us wait with anxiety, worry, stress, irritability and dis-ease for the unfolding of what we are working towards especially if obstacles are along our path. This does not need to be the case. With a higher understanding we can face obstacles, time and the like with great ease and inner knowing. Patience does not need to be a small task in our daily lives. It can be a spiritual practice that triggers the use of our higher mind in even the most mundane of tasks. With the mindful intention to use this virtue throughout the week and maybe further into our lives, it is my hope that we will manifest more happiness, freedom and ease in our daily lives.
Patiently Awaiting the Dream
Losing patience for the Big Dream to manifest has been the downfall of many incredibly talented loved ones and even me at times. It can be difficult to continue to work hard while in good spirits towards something and not see the results that we want when we expect them. After years of hard work toward a craft, a career or any activity or goal we’ve invested so much of ourselves in we want to see it pan out in the way we had hoped. When it doesn’t it makes sense to question ourselves. To think, “Maybe this isn’t right for me after all.” “Maybe I should settle for something more realistic.” “Maybe I should just give up.” In some cases, maybe this is a practical and helpful way to think. Especially if the task you are working on is no longer authentic to your priorities. However, I've found that many times it is when I think of giving up, and don’t that the big breaks come in. It is when I recommit myself with a positive attitude, a sense of trust in my purpose and a sense of ease in the journey that the magic unfolds.
For example, last week I was hosting a Special Class that included a heartfelt offering of basically my soul. The idea of this offering fully manifesting kind of made me nervous. I wondered if people would enjoy it, if it would be appreciated in the way I intended or if people would even attend. As the days approached I realized that only one person had preregistered for the event. I had publicly announced the event over a month ago and consistently since. I felt that if people were planning to attend to attend they would have already registered. I felt a bit discouraged and moved to cancel the workshop (to give up). As the days progressed and we got closer to the event, we decided to hold off canceling until the night before. This gave me a sense of ease, in knowing that if it is meant to be it will be. I recommitted to the workshop energetically. The night before the workshop was scheduled a few more people signed up. I thought, okay, I’ll keep at it. That morning I made it a point to prepare for the workshop whole heartedly. I found myself so excited to offer it to the few people who were attending. Once I arrived I found that the number of preregistered students doubled and two thirds of the workshop was full. I smiled and I set up the room… as the start time got closer I found myself working to squeeze more people in to make enough space for a sold out (still humble and small) event!
This got me to thinking of all the times in my life that I gave up, quit or lost hope in something I cared about just because I was giving into my worries that it wouldn't work out the way I had planned. This experience made me realize that in order to be an active participant in my spiritual contract with my authentic self I need to see things out, trust the process and better cultivate the virtue of Patience. It isn’t enough to set goals, work towards them, and wait for them to manifest. I must also commit to the practice of patience, which to me includes a level of positivity while waiting. It is with this practice, this trusting, that dreams are made into reality.
My big dreams aren't to just host small healing workshops of course, they are grander, more abstract and mystical. Daily I am reminded that I need to trust that the day ahead is moving me in the right direction. Every day is a microcosm of our lives. Every moment is all that we have. In order to get the most of it all we must tap into an understanding just as grand as our dreams. We cannot use basic daily thoughts and evidence to succeed in life. We need to tap into higher concepts like Trust & Faith. Too many of us are walking around questioning the moment in front of us, worrying that it isn't working out. However, if we look deeper we will find that we are exactly where we need to be and with just the right amount of faith and trust, we will get to where we are going and needn't lose the magic of the journey while on our way.
Patience as a Sacred Practice
On Monday morning, I left my house with more than enough time to make it to my 11AM class on time and with a smile. On my way I was met with road block, women with strollers, traffic, dog walkers and many other obstacles. A part of me wanted to worry, get angry and even curse the present moment. Then I remembered, "This weeks practice is patience. I am exactly where I am supposed to be!" So I walked, smiled, and enjoyed the extra moments of the beautiful air on my face. I arrived into the studio a minute or two late and announced that our practice was to cultivate patience. I used my walk to the studio as my dharma, my example, and the inspiration it gave me as the unfolding of my words. I went from being a victim to my circumstances, to living a moment of magical, goose-bumpy beauty with a group of people who were right there watching it unfold with me. We laughed, smiled and enjoyed our practice. It is moments like this that take us out of the mundane of daily life and allow us to live in a state of ecstasy and wonder!
When obstacles come up I try and think about the times in my life or in history where things not working out as planned were truly a blessing. The example that often comes to mind is thinking of the people who were unable to make it to work on time on 9/11. It is a hard example, I know. However, every single time I am running late it comes to my mind and I am instantly transported into a mindset of allowing. Suddenly obstacles become in my mind beautifully orchestrated synchronicities for my enjoyment and highest good. The people in front of me, the thoughts I am thinking and my environment become my teacher and I am able to move out of ego-centered thinking and connect with my higher mind.
This of course is a practice. I like all people lose my patience, hence why I have dedicated a week of my life to observing it as my primary practice. Whether it is communicating with someone using aggressive language or an unsettling tone, technology, or being faced with the obstacles daily life presents, patience is an all prevailing practice. Cultivating patience isn’t easy, or it would not be considered a virtue. True patience is a higher vibrational practice and although anyone can work toward it and manifest it, the very practice of cultivating it, requires patience in itself!
Do not mistake patience for passivity, depression or laziness. Patience is not sitting back on your butt and waiting for some great mystical being to bestow you with all the blessings on your manifestation list. The practice of patience that I am speaking of is realized when doing the work (the task in-front of you), not seeing the results right away and committing to it whole heartily anyway, all while maintaining an inner knowing that all will unfold as it should. It is committing to the present moment as if it is all that exists and finding pleasure or joy, right here and now!
This Week's Asana Practice
To help us better practice patience in our daily lives our yoga practice this week is focused on creating deeper listening, allowing and trusting. I have put together postures that target this energetic response in the body. In class we will work towards the below postures with the assistance of sun salutations, lunges, twists, Vinyasa and other standing poses. The hope is that throughout the practice we will connect to our breath and really do our best to allow the poses rather than forcing them to look a certain way. I know this is a hard concept for people who practice from a more rigid yogic background, so feel free to in that case play with the postures in a way that better suits your yogic philosophy. In either case, I recommend using a more yin approach for poses like Tarasana, Malasana & Kurmasana. Our energetic focus this week is to ground and awaken our root chakra to cultivate more trust and ease, while opening the throat chakra to improve our listening and allowing. Play with the poses that are realistic for you and your body.
Our goal when observing patience on the Yoga Mat is to know that eventually each pose will manifest when the time is right. The mastering of poses comes with practice and a positive commitment to seeing it through. With postures like Tortoise pose, we do not need to have the full expression of the pose to gain benefits from it today. So rather than forcing a shape your body is not ready for please instead allow for the breath to support where you are in it today. Work with an inner knowing that with persistence along with listening to your body and trusting in the process you will eventually find your way into a deeper expression of the posture; maybe not today, not tomorrow, next week or even next year... but when the timing is right. This can be a metaphor for your big dreams, your daily tasks and whatever else you find inspiration applying it to!
10 Yoga Postures to help cultivate Patience
Sit in a tall, comfortable and supported position. Start with one palm face down on upper chest near collar bones, place your other palm right below that. Take a moment to set your intention for cultivating more patience and trust. Breathe here until you feel centered. Chant "OM" 1 to 3 times.
***Before moving into the poses try doing a few rounds of classical sun salutations to help warm and prepare the body.
1. Prasarita Padottanasana C
5 Breaths - Start with chin toward earth, then releasing head. Bent Knees Okay!
Before coming into this posture I recommend doing a few sun salutes or a few lunges to warm the body a bit. Once here do your best to keep your feet grounded as you play with allowing your weight to move into the balls of your feet. This will challenge your balance while bringing more integrity to the posture. I welcome you to play with the idea of all of your worry, expectations and stress falling off of your body. Imagine yourself standing over it, allowing yourself to be above it. Make sure your feet are parallel in this pose, its helpful to turn the toes in a little to prevent slipping on your mat!
2. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose) with Head Lifted
5 Breaths on each side
Tree pose is one of my favorite postures to play with when meditating on the concepts of trust, letting go and patience. When we look to nature we do not see tree's trying to be trees, plants worrying about baring fruit or the sun wondering if it should shine. Nature is in a constant state of allowing. As you are in tree pose allow the pose to breathe you. By lifting your head in the pose this week you bring more challenge to the posture and actually create more of an opening in the throat chakra. This posture helps to better connect us to the earth which creates more balance in our root chakra. These two chakras are very helpful in cultivating better listening, trusting and allowing!
3. Parsvottanasana with Reverse Prayer or Interlaced hands
5 Breaths on each side
This pose can be challenging in many ways, I've often found it difficult to keep my balance here. However, over time and with practice this posture is incredibly soothing. For me it feels as if I am letting go of so much baggage while here. I welcome you to bring this posture into your regular practice as a mediation on the lesson of persistence, not giving up and the reward of patience!
4. Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon) with or without block
5 Breaths total on each side - working toward lifting your hand and raising your gaze toward the sky.
Half moon posture used to be a reason I would skip yoga class. I was so embarrassed by how hard of a time I had in it. Silly, I know! I fell every-time for years, now it is my absolute favorite balancing posture. This pose has great effects in removing irritability associated with impatience. It is also a great lesson in persistence and building from the bottom up!
5. Malasana (Garland Pose)
5 Breaths - starting in deep squat and making way into forward fold.
Let it go! Let go of the idea that you need to control every single aspect of your life. Let go of your stress. Let go of your worry. Connect to the earth in this pose and bow and surrender as you breathe here. To Modify: Sit on a block or work with a rolled up blanket under your heals or behind your knees!
6. Tarasana (Star Pose) with Block or Bolster under feet optional*
5 breaths with heavy head
When in my first teacher training one of my teachers told me a story about how Tara is the Female Buddha. That she vowed to be reincarnated until all women had the ability to reach enlightenment. If you know anything about many spiritual practices in the east, it is often a belief that women must be reincarnated into a man's body in order to reach enlightenment. Well, ladies (and gents), we are living in a different time. Women are becoming more and more enlightened by the moment! However, it took a few thousand years. So our lesson in this posture is patience. Slow & steady! Allow each breath to melt your body further forward. No need to force. Modify: I like to work in this pose with my arms over my legs and my palms face up. You can also prop up your outer knees or sit up higher to alleviated discomfort.
7. Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose) with or with out bent knees
5 breaths - ease into it
We grew up with the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. The idea is that slow and steady wins the race. Yeah, maybe you can force yourself into this posture for a quick instagram picture, however, the yoga sutras say that half of the asana practice is finding comfort in the postures. Also, last week we talked about AHIMSA. So my invitation is to explore this posture with bent knees (maybe even with your feet flat on he floor). Take a few moments with your palms flat on the floor in front of you. If after a few breaths you want to play with tucking your arms under your legs and possibly straightening your legs, go for it! In class we are working with an internal rotation of the arms in this posture (unlike the models arms in this photo).
3 to 5 breaths on each side
This twist is making a come back from a few weeks ago! Take it this week with out the lotus leg variation and bring more of your focus on trying to wrap your back arm around to grab the opposite upper arm. Be kind to your neck. You can use a strap or just rest the back of your back arm around your outer hip.
9. Karna-Pidasana (Ear Pressure Pose)
After a suggested short Plow Pose/ShoulderStand Practice play with releasing your bent knees around your ears. You can engage a bit through your inner thighs and hug your ears. Your the energy in your legs to help bring more attention to your ears. This posture has an incredible calming effect on the nervous system, helps relieve back issues and relieve the stress associated with impatience! You are welome to play with huggin your legs with your arms. P.S. It might not look like this, that's okay, do your best and only stay as long as it feels appropriate!
10. Matsyasana (Fish Pose)
This posture opens the heart and throat and even brings a little focus on the crown chakra. It has a great effect on relieving anxiety and is here this week to help us seal our practice with confidence and ease for the rest of the day. Try and work in this pose with a little less weight on your neck by using your arms for more support. Only stay as long as it feels good. Focus your eyes on one spot on the floor to help keep the mind sharp. Once complete take some time to set yourself up for a sweet gentle supine twist and then make your way into a comfortable corpse pose for final breath-work and deep relaxation.
Start laying flat on your back.
Breathe in - hold the breath
Exhale - hold the breath out
Continue this process for 5/10 breaths. You do not need to hold the breath long. Just a moment or two. Do you best to allow your breaths out to be slightly longer than your breaths in. Once you've completed your breath exercise, relax completely, receiving the benefits of your practice.
Additional Practices to help Cultivate Patience
Mediation allows us to better connect to the part of ourselves that observes our thoughts, feelings and emotions. It helps us to approach life more calmly and it also creates for more trust and allowing in the process of living.
Starting the day with gratitude or with positivity gives you something to hold onto when you are met with obstacles. For example, "Today I allow the universe to take the lead" might make the difference between falling victim to a negativity storm and finding yourself enchanted by the unfolding of your day! My personal favorite is, "I am exactly where I am supposed to be, otherwise I would not be here."
3. Take the Long Way
Plan a task during the week where you can take the long way. Maybe walking rather than driving, cooking rather than ordering, cleaning for yourself rather than asking someone else to do it. Leave yourself enough time to go about it sweetly as you like. Complete your task and revel in the completion, however, do you best to enjoy every moment of the journey until that completion. If you are walking maybe take time to notice everything on your way that delights you, if you are cooking maybe sing as your prepare your food, if you are cleaning maybe listen to your favorite music and dance as you work. Take this as a lesson of enjoying the journey to completion.
4. Essential Oils
Euphoric Oils can be great to help relieve the symptoms associated with impatience and worry. My favorite right now is Neroli Oil!
The calming effects of Amethyst help you trust in the big picture and even awaken your intuition.
6. Think about how far you have come!
Maybe you aren't a famous musician yet, however, I bet you are much better at your craft than when you started! Maybe you aren't married yet, however, I bet you know yourself better than ever! Maybe you aren't living in your dream house, however, I bet you have a much better idea of you ideal location to live than you ever did! Be persistent with your goals but don't let them bully you!
7. Enjoy your Day!
Let your goal each day be to find enjoyment in it. Yes, you can have tasks on your list. Complete your work, do what you have to do! However, during each task make it your primary aim to enjoy it. This will move you out of waiting for life to unfold, to enjoying the unfolding of life!
If you want to really tune into whether or not you are a master of patience start to really observe your listening skills. The task of listening requires great patience. Notice if when in conversation if you numb out what others are saying. Do you find yourself more focused on what you have to say next than what is actually being said? Notice if you are truly present with the sounds around you. When you are listening to music is it background noise or are you experiencing it (this can also be applied to reading and/or observing). The practicing of listening can be a yoga practice that you take with you everywhere! Let this bring you closer to everyone you speak to, find more pleasure in every moment and to better know yourself.
The idea of relinquishing our grip on life and things can be a great practice of patience and trust. You can still make plans and set up your days but notice how you respond to obstacles. Take a moment when they arrive to check in with yourself. Do your best to respond positively rather than respond automatically. This can be an incredible process with a partner. Rather than making rules of how one should treat you, step back a little and appreciate the little things they do. Even if it isn't what you might have decided long ago is required in order to be loved, it might actually be exactly what you need in the here and now!
10. Be Clear
If you have goals that awaiting manifestation, make them clear in your mind! Whatever you are working on in the current moment can be in dedication to them. You can use every moment as a yoga practice designed to clear the karma between you and what it is you are working towards. You might find the more clear you are with your goals, the more in line your daily tasks become with the manifestation of them. It doesn't need to be completely forced. Start with the task at hand and go with the flow!
Thank you so much for tuning in! This and every week, these practices take me on a powerful journey. I am consistently humbled by how much I am able to gain and learn from each practice. This week is no different. I do not expect perfection from you or myself. We are going to have our moments, our blow ups, our outbursts and our desires to fold under pressure! However, we can day after day and week after week, become more and more aware of our process, our progress and our purpose. I invite you to participate in the unfolding of your life with beautiful ease, trust and deep listening.
With many blessings,
Nicole Lynne Hooley
Yoga, Reiki & Intuitive Healing
Brooklyn based Yoga Instructor & Reiki Healer, Nicole specializes in teaching Personal Empowerment & Self Healing inspired Yoga Classes, Workshops & Reiki Trainings throughout Brooklyn. Her Reiki & Intuitive Healing sessions have been called "an hour of unconditional love". Nicole has been highlighted by Huffington Post and YogaCityNYC.
Easy Moon Salutations & Good Mood Yoga: