Spiritual practice

Do you have a spiritual practice? What even does that mean?

I have to admit, this is a term I always tried to avoid. When I was young, we associated spirituality either with religious people or those we thought are kind of “kuku”. Many years later I found myself on this path… It’s such a complex topic! It can have different meanings, relations and practices for everyone and for sure it’s not a box to put someone in.

I found these statements about what spiritual practice is and I can really relate:

Spiritual practice is any conscious personal action or experience, motivated by the intention of understanding and integrating the whole of you physically and spiritually, body, mind, heart, and soul.

Spiritual practice is also the individual effort to internalize and experience that which seems beyond and separate as not only connected but also as an integral authentic expression of self.

We are all spiritual beings, the question is, are we aware of it? And do we use it? Well, you can just live your life, trying to make the most out of what is given and that’s it, what else can you do?

One other option is to understand who we are and what our purpose, our dharma is. Learning about the energies within and around and work with them.

I felt called to the latter. Eventually I was forced into it, when I had a bad accident, long time ago. I was pretty clear, there’s something in my mind that has to change. I didn’t know what and how, but looking back, this was the moment it all started.

My path so far wasn’t using the highway, but rather going in curves through the mountains. I learned many different things, and the beauty was, that always one led to the other. Often I wasn’t even clear why I learned something, but I never had any doubts that whatever showed up was right. Or important for me.

Right now I’m head over toes about Tantra, Saiva Tantra. I’m reading books, attended an academic studies course and I’m in the midst of a 3 months immersion. I feel like everything I ever learned all of a sudden integrates, immersed in me. I’m kind of un-peeling myself. Same time getting new tools, new doors to open, new practices – new experiences. I feel more connected to myself, my energy levels on a never known high, which is so beautiful to notice. Yes, I’m still on my way, awareness, awareness, awareness…. but the frequency changed.

It’s when duality starts to become oneness, the energies collaborate. The moment when we can be loose and natural, expressing awareness, authentically in its absoluteness, then we start flowing with the river, merging into the ocean. 

Feel

How do you feel? I’m not after good or bad, but the details. No judgment. Take a moment and close your eyes, bring your attention inside and just do one thing: feel. Start with the easy things, like the temperature. Find different temperature zones in your body. Notice any tension, maybe even pain. You can use your breathe to guide you through your body and continue observing. Can you feel your breath? Your blood? Your veins and arteries? Your inner organs, muscles? Smile. Yes, just do it, smile. Feel the difference. What changed in your body following your lips going up? Now ask yourself: how do I feel? 

Instead of asking yourself if something is right or wrong, good or bad, ask yourself, how does it make me feel? And go from there. This is more important than anything else.

The same approach works in you yoga practice. You need to feel what you do, feel your body, your muscles, fascia, organs and and and. Every movement, every posture has to be felt and yeah, it should feel good! I know, sometimes it’s a bit challenging at the beginning, but again, you’ll find the moment of steadiness and ease, the moment you feel arrived in an asana. Listen to your body. Stop pushing, start feeling. Not saying this is easy, I even think it’s the most difficult part! If you are flexible, you might easily jump into a pretzel, but without that connection to your body, it’s no asana, but just a pretzel. Works for your Instagram account, but meaningless for your practice and your progress.

Start by sharpening your awareness to your feelings and what you feel. All the details! You will learn about your body in a total different way! Do some sun salutations blindfolded. This will support your focus. This can then be replaced with drishti, the focused gaze. It takes practice, as everything, but it will take your practice on a new level!

Just be prepared, that eventually you will never ever be able to answer the question ‚how do you feel‘ with just one word…. 

The season in my body

We are changing — even if it’s still very warm these days, the nights are getting chilly, the mornings show up dizzy with the first indication of fog. I usually feel the weather change in my leg, due to a couple of surgeries, but it’s different now. I’m used to a proper warm up before practicing, particularly if it’s cold, but it looks like my age is counting in more now.

During summer my body was soft, smooth once it was up to the right temperature. The last days were totally different. My bones and joints are cracking here and there, even after warming up. I have to be very careful, particularly in all half lotos postures, so my practice requires high awareness and also sometimes stepping back into modifications.

I feel like I have aged 20 years plus overnight. Most of my gas tanks seems quite low, and rather than continuing to push myself, it’s important to emphasize ease and grace.

I feel the season changing, the fall in me. It’s not just an outside spectacle, it happens within me too. Both a blessing and a curse of age: we are getting more sensitive to nature.

I feel kind of energetically encouraged to do anything that feels delicious to me. Moving my body in a way that comes naturally. Might be a strong Ashtanga practice, but I also allow myself a music inspired stretching flow or yin yoga. I’m a Taurus, ruled by Venus, I need passion. These days my passion focuses on my true self by valuing self care over the grind. And finally dive deeply into my sacred space.