Begin by gently closing the eyes, allowing the outside world, whatever you were doing or thinking about throughout the day, to fade into the background. Allow your awareness to scan through the body, softening and releasing obvious physical tension. You may drop the shoulders, soften the brow,relax the belly. Feel rooted in the earth, spine reaching up to the sky. Notice how the body feels. Now bringing your awareness to the breath. Notice where you most feel the breath. Could be the nostrils, throat, chest, or maybe the rise and fall of the belly. (2 minutes)
As we move through life there may be times when we notice a blaming pattern or mindset. When I notice it most is when this word “should” pops up during my internal dialogue, “This person SHOULD do this” or “Those people SHOULD do that”.
Bring to mind a time when you were thinking someone should be different. Maybe it was a politician, coworker, spouse, child, mother, brother or possibly a group of people.
Our first response is to blame or label the person or group of people as the “bad other”. This type of labeling allows us to disconnect, to push away, to avert our discomfort leading to more disease and pain. Our second response, often referred to as the second dart, hits us square in the face as we begin to blame ourselves saying, “I should be different” or “I am deficient in some way”.
Instead of blaming, What if we accepted others and ourselves? Acceptance doesn’t mean allowing others to step all over us. Acceptance is the capacity to recognize what is happening and meet it with kindness.
We can being this practice by bringing one hand to the heart and one hand to the belly saying, “Forgiven forgiven”.
Reclined Head to Toe pose with Strap
Reclined ½ Happy Baby Pose
Reclining Twist: Windshield wiper knees left and right, massaging the sacrum (lower back)
Cat/ Cow: Inhale, sit bones move toward ceiling while chest shines forward. Exhale, bellybutton to spine, shoulder blades open, press into the hands, while the chin moves inward toward the chest.
Wrist stretch: fingertips toward knees, sitting back on heels as far as feels good.
Mountain: Shoulders roll back, chest lifts, engage Mula Bandha (root lock), Uddiyana Bandha (abdominal lock- done by pulling the bellybutton to the spine), and Jalandhara Bandha (throat lock- chin to chest)
Sun Salutations holding each posture for 4-8 breaths.
- Lizard (½ happy baby actions- bellybutton to spine, knee toward armpit, heel reaching back, crown of the head reaching forward)
- High lunge to Warrior 3
- Warrior 1 to Humble Warrior
- High Lunge to Warrior 3
- Wide Legged Forward Fold
Crane: From Downward Facing Dog, walk the feet 18 inches away from the wrists. Rest the knees, where ever feels most comfortable, from the elbows to the armpits. Press firmly into the whole hand, protecting the wrists. Gently rock back and forth, changing the weight distribution between the toes and the hands. Finally, engage the core, lifting the toes off the sticky mat, balancing fully on the hands. Breath. Move into Child’s Pose (4-8 breaths). Once again move into Downward Facing Dog, following the above stated steps, moving into Crane for the second time. Move into Child’s Pose (4-8 breaths).
Reclining Twist: Gently move from Child’s Pose to Constructive Rest Pose with the soles of the feet flat on the ground. Allow the knees to fall to the left, look right (8-10 breaths). Bring the knees back to a neutral position then allow the knees to fall to the right.
Bridge: Exhale, pushing the lumbar spine into the mat, rising the hips toward the sky, rolling onto the shoulders. Energetically engage the inner thigh, pulling the legs together. Breath (4-8 breaths). Exhale, gently rolling down the spine, releasing the pelvis at the bottom.
Savasana: Allow legs to lengthen along the mat, palms facing up ready to accept others and oneself. Relax with the breath, noticing the body, the work done during the practice. Allow the body and mind to release into the support of the earth.
Coming back to the notion of aversion in the form of blame. Again bring to mind a time when you were thinking someone should be a certain way other than the way they are. Digging deeper, What is underneath this blame? What unmet need is the blame addressing? It may be fear, greed or hatred, unworthiness. And again, what if we accepted the “bad other”? What if we accepted ourselves just the way we are? Putting one hand on the heart and again repeating the words, “Forgiven forgiven”.
May we all be happy and free. May we all contribute to the happiness and freedom of all.