The state of peace is the foundation of spiritual experience. Where inner-peace does not exist there can be no spiritual growth, development or improvement. Modern life presents very little peace, human beings are effected by stress every day, this leads to anxiety, depression, illness, competition, disassociation, addictions, relationship breakdowns and suicide. It is becoming a desperate situation, there is no time but the present to find peace in your life daily.
Surrender is the ultimate state required to develop peace and the purpose of Restorative Yoga Practice is to create peaceful states which involve rest, meditation, inner listening and reflection, which lead to peace. The awakening of peace has to happen at various levels of our nature, personality and mind. Therefore including mindful rituals that involve the body (restful postures), emotions (breath techniques) and Mind (progressive relaxation and meditation) are essential to developing peace.
How can I surrender?
As the quote says "to give in, give Up". Now that doesn't suggest you just allow others to swallow you up, or that you stop making an effort. Quite the opposite. Surrender takes effort, conviction and practice. We have developed a habit of doing, we keep going and we can't switch off.
When you stop and sit still you will notice how tense you feel, how much you are thinking. This tension and thinking increases the more you push yourself. The state of Distraction is a real experience, it is this constant distraction that has replaced the natural tendency to surrender. Humans are "wired" more to what is outside than inside.
Why is this?
Your body is a wired system and that wiring starts in your brain and branches out. Every time you are stimulated in some way your brain receives this and sends it out and down into your body.
It is your brain that is controlling your body and your body controlling your brain, as this is a 2 way circuit. All of the information is being perceived through the 5 senses most of the time. The sixth sense - your intuitive guidance system - is very rarely heard.
I remember a few years ago, a couple of days before we flew out to Hawaii my vacuum broke, it needed to be replaced for our house guests. I quickly got into town with the directive that I will go straight in buy the vacuum and come home. Within moments of entering the store I was distracted by the pretty dresses hanging up, the perfumes etc. I almost forgot the purpose of my visit. In the middle of looking at all the "nice things" I woke up to the fact of why I was there. I finally made it to the top floor where my destination was by saying this mantra to myself over & over "don't be distracted". It was from this experience I realised how easy it is to set yourself up for stress. Time limits can be our greatest Stressors, we can eliminate some of that by not being distracted. This distraction leads eventually to more stress.
To begin to develop peace and move towards the habit of surrender you need to find an anchor, a point of reference. Below are the steps followed by some practices. Don't hesitate, the time is Now, you are reading this in the here & now. The sooner you take your body, your mind, your emotions, your life back, learn to surrender, peace will become the driving force.
1. Recognise that you have a problem
Stress, like any habit, becomes familiar. Start recognising how tired you are, anxious you are, are you sleeping really well? Is your digestion good? Honestly are you Happy?
2. Make a commitment
Be true to yourself, you are worth the effort - more effort than everything else outside of you. Each day choose one of the simple practices below as a starting point, then build on it by saying "No" to the things that create stress in your life. Once you recognise what they are, attend a group or class.
3. Find an anchor
An anchor is something you can bring into the moment as a reminder to slow down and surrender. If you are a physical person, try using a body part such as the feet or abdomen, drop your attention down into your feet, focus on surrender. If you are more logical analytical try a symbol like a geometric shape or object to focus on to remind you of surrender. If you are more emotional, try your breath or focus on an uplifting feeling or think of a beautiful memory. Use the same anchor every time make it your new habit.
4. Learn the Feeling of Surrender
Practice relaxation and grounding yourself. This will direct you more to your body. When we get stressed it feels like our body stands out more, however this is not the case. It is the stress that stands out - the nervousness, the tension. This is not the natural state of the body. The body is dense, our physical layer is like the earth, rocks and trees. It is meant to be steady, fixed and in control of its environment, being able to withstand anything that nature throws at it. If it is effected it can rejuvenate very efficiently within the right environment. When you relax or ground yourself you are creating that dense environment where you "know" what is effecting you at a given moment. Until you know, you will struggle trying to change anything.
3 x Simple Surrender practices:
Invert to convert:
I liken these positions to switching off your car engine... at first the car still makes some noises or creaks then it eventually goes quiet. Inverted positions will instantly drop your blood pressure so your body perceives no threats, your circulation begins to increase in a healthy way and your digestion relaxes. Your brain receives the message to relax the body and the body responds. You can modify by removing the supports under the body. The important aspect is to have your neck and head supported so your forehead is higher than your chin to ease the brain and your legs higher than your heart.
Breath & Hand Yoga:
Finding a few moments to sit with no distractions with an upright comfortable position with your hands in your lap with the thumb and first finger together is another reliable and efficient easy surrender practice. The Yoga Mudras or gestures are linked to the science of the breath and brain. When you hold Gyan Mudra (shown) the lungs will receive the breath more in the lower portion thus encouraging tension in the diaphragm to release and the abdominal region to relax and move more. Combined with concentration of your natural inhalation and exhalation this will leave you feeling peaceful and refreshed. You can also add a word or Mantra like Peace, calm, or the breath Mantra So Hum.
Body Scan and Visualisation:
There are many relaxation scripts out there that you can purchase online or make your own. I have attached a simple basic script that is used in our Restorative Training Course for you to record if needed. You can add pleasant scenery at the end and visualise yourself peaceful. You can either make a special daily practice of this or use it at night before you fall off to sleep. Guide your awareness down through your body and consciously relax, "learn the feeling", it leads to surrender, eventually leaving you to gaze into your inner space which is expansive and spacious. This is where your sixth sense becomes more apparent.
If you would like to learn more about Restoring your body and learning to relax, I run two weekend courses on Restorative Yoga Wisdom practices. Anyone can learn this, but it is preferable that you are familiar with Yoga and Meditation. Also, if you sign up to my newsletter or join my Restorative page on Facebook you will receive free guided practices form time to time. https://www.facebook.com/groups/RestoreYogaTraining/.