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It’s been one week since I returned from my amazing three-week vacation in France. It was both everything I had hoped for and so much more than I could’ve ever expected. There are so many aspects of my trip that made it special—from being in a country I love, spending time with one of my best friends, to the endless lazy days spent on the beach drinking rosé. But the true gem of my trip was what all of these things offered me, and that was the gift of space.
Invigorate Your Senses
Aromatherapy is a powerful tool that can calm or energize your senses. There are so many ways you can incorporate the benefits of aromatherapy into your home: candles, essential oils in a bath or shower, flowers and fresh fruit, and even the aromas wafting from your kitchen. One of my favorite ways to fill my home with warmth and energy is to simmer a pot of water on my stove and fill it with orange peel and cinnamon sticks. The orange peel energizes while the cinnamon warms and soothes. Try this at home and watch your mood shift!
My yoga practice is a life practice. Yoga, to me, is both a practice and the culmination of a practice. It’s the daily practice of showing up fully and then getting out of my own way, but it’s also the serendipitous connection to myself that arises as a result of my practice. I live yoga in my kitchen, my relationships, and my everyday life. The medium may change, but the process remains constant.
I live for my morning cup of coffee. Sometimes I get excited about going to bed at night just because it means I can wake up and drink coffee. When my alarm goes off, I climb into my terrycloth robe and shuffle downstairs, my dog Ellie at my heels. I savor every part of my morning ritual, from the first whiff of the ground beans as I scoop them out of their tin, to the quiet sitting while I wait for my coffee to brew. I take my mug to the couch and prepare for the first sip, which feels like my own private moment with God. Ellie puts her head on my lap and we sit there in silence in our little church by the window.
This sacred time gives me the space to be with myself; it encourages me to listen to me — the voices in my head are too sleepy to chime in with their usual agenda and commentary. And that’s a good thing because I like to spend my mornings doing nothing in particular. If I’m in the mood, I’ll putter around my house and tend to this or that. Maybe I’ll water the plants . . . or not. Maybe I’ll write . . . or not. The rest of my day is directed by obligation — things I have to do, or “should” do — which makes the guiltless moments of my morning feel even more precious.
Our home practice can be a lot like my cherished morning time. No one telling us what to do. No agenda to follow. It’s just you and your breath in that vehicle we call the body, cruisin’ wherever you wanna go.
Practice yoga with Chrissy Carter’s Chaturanga Vinyasa Flow video on GaiamTV.com.
It is impossible to know hope until one has experienced hopelessness — that feeling of suffocating permanence, as if you will be forever trapped in your present situation. In a place of hopelessness, all feels irrevocably lost. We harden and brace ourselves for permanent pain in the same way that we gather and store reserves in preparation for a long, hard winter. It’s as if the shutters have been closed and all the lights turned off. Lost in the darkness, we succumb to avidya (ignorance), the belief that our finite experience is all-pervasive and interminable. Helpless, hapless and hopeless, it is impossible to imagine a light at the end of the tunnel, and we start to lose sight of the big picture.
But in these times, hope can be a light in the darkness, filtering through the slats in the shutters, shifting the shadows in our dark room from ominous to promising. Suddenly and against all odds, we can find compassion for ourselves in the face of suffering.