As a child, we are told to be still. We are told to sit still and listen in school and sometimes even at home by family members. But how can you be still when your brain is alive and kicking with the unknown? Of course, in these situations, stillness is associated with behaviour but, as we get older, stillness becomes a method of self-care.
Being still may sound simple, but in 2021, being still as an adult can be extremely difficult. A world that places importance of “ticking items” off the to-do list and reaching career goals engulfs us. From a young age, we are taught that our value is centred around our school marks, our career choices, our salary or materialistic items like cars and clothing. But is that really how we should value our lives? How can we take care of ourselves in a world where being still may be seen as being unproductive?
Being still is one of my favourite methods.
I recently had a discussion with a friend who was going through a really tough time and we chatted about how she felt pressure and judgement from everyone in her life and how it was making her feel. We chatted for a long time. After we had chatted, cried and shared some hugs; I had a brilliant idea. I rolled out 2 yoga mats, lit a candle and opened up some windows. We sat there together, completely still, just breathing and thinking about the sound of the wind, the smell of the candle and the body we inhabit. After about 15 minutes, we opened our eyes and both of us had a smile on our faces, without even trying. What an odd thing! Who thought just sitting and being still would change our temperament this much?
Meditation has been around for centuries and shares benefits we can’t even begin to imagine. According to the Mayo Clinic (2020), meditation helps with your emotional wellbeing and illness. Meditation is known as “a type of mind-body complementary medicine”. I mean, that’s just amazing. You can help your body feel holistically better, by just being STILL?! Being still helps your emotional wellbeing by gaining a fresh perspective on situations which cause you stress, reducing negative emotions and even increasing your patience and tolerance. When it comes to illness, being still has been shown to help with chronic conditions such as: anxiety, chronic pain, High Blood Pressure and even Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Hopefully by now, you want to know all about the process and what I recommend so let’s get right into it, my dear friends.
If you’re anything like me and your yoga mat is your best friend (check out How to choose your perfect mat), then you may have been practising for a while and you already know how to sync up with your breath and live solely in the presence. But fear not my friends, because even if you’re just trying this out for the first time, I’m here to help you.
Firstly, you’re going to want to create a peaceful space for you. Personally, I always feel like I need grounding because my thoughts are constantly pulling me off the ground. So, I enjoy being still in nature. If you have some outside space in your home or even near your home, this might be perfect for you! But if you have little ones (even the furry type), finding a peaceful space may be difficult. A peaceful space could be in your bathtub, your office or even in your bedroom when your home is quieter. Just find a space for you, it doesn’t have to be perfect and quiet.
If you are new to your practice, I recommend sitting on a firm cushion, rolled up blanket/towel or a yoga block. This will remove a bit of stress from your pelvic floor and make it more comfortable to sit still. Additionally, it will allow your energy to flow up and down your spine without any disruptions.
Now to the fun bit. Everyone likes different things. Nevertheless, you must make your space your own. Burn a scented candle (pine is my favourite because, yay forest), burn incense or play soft, calming music in the background (Tibetan bowls will really change your life, trust me!).
Now sit down, cross your legs comfortably (or stretch them out if crossing legs aren’t comfortable for you), rest your hands on your thighs or let your palms kiss and rest on your heart in prayer position, sit up straight and tall and being to deepen your breath. Now, BE STILL. Just sit, even if only for 5 minutes, close your eyes, sit still and let your breath move you. Think of nothing but your breath, the feeling of the ground supporting you, the kiss of the breeze on your skin. If you’re struggling to not think, picture a flickering candle in your mind and think about that!
When we are still, we accept and acknowledge that we are only what we can control. We cannot control what others think, do or say; about or to us. It’s a beautifully sacred moment in our life that allows us to acknowledge that we are only our breath. We are only the energy within our bodies and it is our job to care for and replenish that energy. We are not job titles, salaries, expensive clothing or what others may deem as success. We are energy, living and circulating in this world, interacting with other energies. We will be remembered by our energy.
So, my challenge to you is to be still. For the next week, challenge yourself to be still for a minimum of 5 minutes. But if you are really enjoying it, go further. Don’t set a timer! Just follow your body and listen to it. And when you open your eyes and see the leaves move, hear a bird chirp or feel the sun waltzing on your skin. Remember, that this little act of self-care has replenished your energy and allowed you to appreciate the energy of the world around you.
You are more than what you have “earned” in this world. You are YOU. So be still and embrace it.
Till next time.
Love and light.