Date: February 13, 2015
posted by kira jean / Comments: No Comments / Tags: best life, calm, dream life, dubai, entrepreneur, exercise, fitness, happiness, healing, health, inspiration, life changing, manifesting, meditation, mind body soul, motivational speaker, peace, spirituality, stress, united arab emirates, wellness, yoga, yoga blog, yoga teacher
Stillness is both one of our most desired and most feared things in the world.
We crave stillness.
We crave it like crazy.
We just want a break, a chance to take a breath and sit still for a second.
BUT… when we have the chance to, we run from it and get busy doing, well, anything.
Why? Because we’re not used to it. It feels really uncomfortable and awkward.
For me, I know I just feel guilty sometimes. I know it sounds crazy, but I feel like I’m being selfish if I rest, like there’s too many other things I should be doing.
For the past decade I have journeyed towards stretching into stillness. And by stretching, I mean it’s literally been a stretch for me.
It’s been a huge challenge, and required a lot of un-learning, a deep commitment, and a strong willingness to explore my own discomfort and fear.
What I’ve come to realise is stillness of the mind is what is needed more than anything. We know when we’re physically moving and expending energy, but most of us are unaware of how much mental movement is going on. We’re always thinking. Judging. Questioning. Analysing. And this is using up so much of our energy.
The first step however, is to physically stretch into stillness. I personally love to practice yoga. I stretch, bend, and twist my body, and expel a lot of the energy I have that would otherwise be scattered around during my day on a never-ending to-do list and a lot of unfinished tasks.
It doesn’t have to be yoga, but you’ve got to move your body in someway everyday in a concentrated and mindful way. That means, shopping, running around after the kids, or cleaning up after the dogs doesn’t count. Choose a physical activity that requires a greater level of concentration and also allows you the space to stretch and at the end, come into stillness.
At the end of a yoga class we always rest in Savasana. Lying flat on my back with my eyes close, I can just breathe and relax, slipping into stillness as my body has expelled all the restlessness out during the class and I am able to be still with more ease.
It’s still uncomfortable, don’t get me wrong. My muscles hurt, my heart beats fast, and I’m sweating all over the place. But by doing it regularly I have become comfortable with the uncomfortable, I guess you could say.
Once you begin to feel comfortable with lying or sitting still, that is, while being fully conscious and aware NOT asleep (!), then you will naturally move towards stretching into stillness with your mind.
This can be the biggest stretch of all.
For many years you’ve had many ideas, stories, dreams, and hurts on replay.
Research suggests we produce as many as 50,000 thoughts per day, and 95% of those thoughts are repeated daily.
Our mental space and energy is mostly taken up by recycled thoughts. No wonder it’s so hard to change or create a new habit! Breaking the cycle of recycled thoughts takes time. But you CAN start by stretching into stillness.
Stretching into stillness will create the space needed to allow a new thought or idea to enter, and you’ll have surplus energy to then expend on developing that idea or putting it into action.
In the beginning the way I would fumble my way into stillness was through concentration.
Doing a physical activity that requires your presence will help you on your journey towards stillness of the body and the mind.
I began taming the beast, that is my unruly mind and it’s incessant thoughts, by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness put simply, is focusing your mind on exactly what’s present for you in that moment.
You I’m guessing, like me, find it hard enough to focus on one thing at a time, let alone be aware of all that is within and outside of you in this very moment.
I began my mindfulness practice by adopting it into my everyday chores. It was painfully frustrating at times, but I have continued this practice for nearly a decade now and it’s the fastest way I’ve discovered to return to the present moment, boot out all the BS thoughts that are doing circles in my head, and instead stretch into stillness.
Somedays it’s still a stretch. :)
It seems so pointless in the beginning! But over time it starts to become a powerful practice thats flows over into other areas of your life and being.
The power of a still, concentrated mind can not be underestimated. It’s a clear path to success. In EVERYTHING!
The most successful business people have refined this skill, they make stuff happen – fast! The greatest inventors, painters, musicians, scholars, and yogis have all reached higher levels of external and internal success through the power of being able to focus, still their mind, and concentrate on what they are creating in that moment.
Success comes from being able to still the mind, rest the body, and concentrate on what’s right in front of you. All of your energy is channeled into whatever you decide to focus on.
I mean, wow, imagine all the stuff you would do and create if 95% of your thoughts weren’t recycled!
Imagine knowing when and how to rest your body and still your mind, saving your energy for all the freakin’ fabulous stuff you’re here to do.
That masterpiece you’re going to create.
The book you’ve been meaning to write.
The cities you’re going to see.
The healing you’re born to bring to the world.
The business you’re going to rock at.
And the fun,
the joy you’re going to share with everyone around you.
One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn (still learning!) is that things don’t happen overnight. Well perhaps somethings do, but not this. Taming the beast, the unruly mind, take consistent remembering.
All it takes is remembering. And oh boy, that can be the hardest thing in the world.
It doesn’t take a lot of work, it’s not laborious or demanding. You don’t have to DO anything in particular, just remember.
Commit to consistently remembering. Remembering to be present. Remembering to stop, pause, breath, and stretch into stillness. Remembering how incredibly powerful you can be when you’re mind is still, quiet, and focused, and your body relaxed, energised, and vibrant.
I have two simple tools you can practice to build the “muscles” you need to be able to stretch into stillness.
The first tool is a mindfulness practice I’ve been doing for years.
It’s a simple way to concentrate your mind, reduce the chatter, and step into now. All it requires is that you repeat what you are doing, and begin to feel into it. Choose something you do everyday.
For me, when I’m walking I repeat in a calm concentrated voice: “I am walking, I am walking, I am walking”. I articulate exactly what I’m doing in the moment. This gets me into my body, it makes me aware of how I’m moving, and rather than going cold-turkey and trying not to think of anything at all, I give my mind a single thing to focus on.
It feels kind of crazy to be talking to yourself like that at first, but with regular practice it will become less about the words and more about the awareness that is created and the feelings and sensations you notice.
Really try to feel into the what you’re doing as you say the words. Notice everything about what you’re doing.
The second tool is a simple breathing exercise.
To begin with, sit in comfortable chair with your back relaxed and straight, and your feet on the ground.
Close your eyes and rub your hands and feet together really fast (shoes off of course!) for 20 seconds, until your feel a warming sensation.
Then place your feet on the ground and your hands over your eyes.
Hold your hands over your eyes for 15 x long, slow, deep breaths, feel your feet into the ground. You don’t need to breath in any special kind of yogic way, just make the breaths slow and deep.
After 15 breaths take your hands away and slowly open your eyes.
I would soooo love you to use this technique at least twice a day (more if needed!). Morning and night, pause and take a few moments to do this simple breathing exercise, and begin stretching into stillness.
It’s so simple, but don’t underestimate is magic transformational powers. It really is a superhero self-improvement tool.
Now, I would love to hear from you in the comments below.
How did these techniques work for you?
What did you notice?
What is the hardest thing about stretching into stillness?
I would also love if you shared this post with your friends. These everybody’s struggling with higher levels of stress and lack of time to really rest so please help me help them and share this post.
I’ll be in touch again soon darling girl.
Kira x x