The Spring Equinox represents a harmony in nature where day and night become balanced. It serves as a starting point for dynamic transformation in the natural world. As we seek ways to renew ourselves in sync with nature, the arrival of spring presents a powerful time to release what is holding us back, to press the reset button, and start over. To let go of what no longer serves us and open up to the beginning of new dreams and new realities.
It’s important to take this opportune time to be with yourself, quiet your mind, meditate, journal, and celebrate how far you’ve come. Then envision what you want to create and begin planting those seeds. You are capable of manifesting whatever you choose to focus on. Wherever your energy goes is what grows.
However, it’s important to remember that the mind is an instrument. We can’t let it play us. Thinking is the job of the mind. Our job is to observe the mind and then consciously choose the thoughts we want to engage with or not at each moment. The thoughts we feed it are the ones that will grow and create our reality.
The Art of Meditation
The challenge for most people is learning to befriend the mind so that day to day worries, stresses, and other thoughts we carry around don’t get in the way of experiencing the miracle of life on earth. The practice of mediation is the most powerful tool for developing the capacity to calm the fluctuations of our thoughts.
Meditation helps us to become the observer of our thoughts and emotions. It helps to bring us back to the preciousness of the present that we are gifted with. Meditation is a gift to ourselves, especially for our mind—just ten minutes of practice can change your day, and creating a regular meditation practice can change your life.
The more you practice meditation, the more mindful you can be of the present. When you are truly present and allow yourself to experience life exactly the way it is, rather than how you think it should be, the miracle of the moment shines forth and the more likely you are to appreciate the simple wonders of life on earth—a beautiful sunset, a cool breeze, the smile of a stranger, a hug from a loved one, a blooming flower. Rather than focusing on what we don’t have, meditation encourages us to focus on what we already have that’s all around us.
When beginning to establish a meditation practice, you may feel that there is a right way and a wrong way or that you should be able to stop your thoughts and experience perfect peace. These are simply unrealistic expectations to put on yourself. Over time and with practice, the mind will be able to enter greater degrees of absorption. But to begin, remember to be kind and gentle with yourself. Trust the process and enjoy the journey.
A Guided Meditation Practice
Feel your sits bones, the two boney knobs at the base of your pelvis, rooted into the earth. Begin to feel the crown of your head lifting up toward the sky, drawing your spine long. Soften your jaw and forehead and relax your abdomen. Begin to notice your breath and the gentle pulse as it moves in and out through the nose. Invite your attention to stay with your breath, allowing your awareness to float on the gentle waves moving in and out of your body. Be a compassionate observer, taking in whatever might be moving with your awareness. Whenever you notice your mind drift away, return to the sensation of your breath. Notice the bodily sensations, thoughts, and emotions as you sit and breathe. Let them all come and go. Society may be telling us that we need more, always more, but take a deep breath in and simply, empty your mind as you exhale. When you’re ready, open your eyes. Look around and receive the miracle of this moment. You are here and you are enough.
The Gift of Breath
In the end, the longest and most important relationship any of us will ever have is with ourselves. The better we know ourselves, what we’re good at, and what brings us joy, the easier it is to focus on what we want to create and manifest. While we cannot always control what goes on outside, we can always control what goes on inside. To help that process, we have a tool that is right under our nose. Literally. Our breath.
Breathwork is another incredible tool to help soothe our way into a new season, a new beginning, by training us in letting go. Nothing is permanent—including our breath. Our breath is always changing. It’s always flowing. Same thing with our thoughts. We can observe through our breath that our thoughts are coming and going as well. There are not there to stay. By focusing more on our breath, we can develop our mind training it to be able to stay present to the impermanence of life. In time, this helps us to feel more relaxed, more centered, more patient, more compassionate, and less critical of ourselves and situations.
Slow, deep breathing has a calming effect on the nervous system that allows us to shift from the fight or flight response to the relaxation response. This is incredibly important because in fight or flight we are reactive. We act without thinking about the consequences. This reaction is critical when we are in a life-or-death situation but otherwise, reactivity can cause more harm than good. So, when we practice mindful breathing, we are continually reminded that we are alive, that we have this breath, and in this, we can be content.
A Guided Breathing Exercise
Gently lengthen your spine up through the crown of your head, as if your spine just grew an inch or two longer. Draw a soft breath in through your nose and hold it for a moment. Then exhale slowly and allow your shoulders and abdomen to relax as you follow your breath all the way out. Take a deep breath in again, and exhale out through your mouth with a gentle sigh. Soften your face and relax your jaw. Allow your teeth to part slightly and your eyes to rest like big pools in their sockets. Let go. Watch the little pulse of movement in your belly as the body breathes on its own. Feel the breath entering your body and feel the breath leaving your body. Stay with your breath and notice the activity of your mind. Imagine that your awareness is a boat floating on these slow, steady waves of breath. Notice how fast your mind is going, and see the speedometer in your mind slowing down, gradually and smoothly, until it rests at 0 mph. You are here.
Celebrate the Vernal Equinox Workshop
As we connect with the breath, we connect to the mind. When we connect with the mind, we begin to wake up. And we can experience this wave of aliveness wash over us making it a powerful reset as we enter into spring.
To help guide this transition into a new season, we are hosting a workshop at Ahimsa Studio in Elmhurst on the Vernal Equinox to come together and celebrate this new awakening. As we seek ways to reset and renew ourselves in sync with nature, this workshop is designed to help us explore together in finding our balance and bliss this spring. We will uncover transformative concepts of balance and bliss that are rooted in yogic philosophy as well as modern-day nutritional and lifestyle regimens.
We invite you to join us in this fun and interactive workshop on Sunday, March 20th, from 2:00 – 4:00 PM CST. If you prefer to stay in the comfort of your own home, then you can join us on Zoom as well. Space is limited, so be sure to register early to secure your spot at https://www.ahimsayogastudios.com/events. Please bring a mat and pen/pencil, and we will see you there!
Remember, you are capable of manifesting whatever you choose to focus on. Wherever your energy goes is what grows. Now let’s begin planting those seeds together to flourish in spring!
About the Author
Katie Sayad is a passionate wellness specialist based in the Chicagoland area. As a certified health and wellness coach and yoga teacher, what drives her in her work with the community is the desire for us to live as the healthiest and fullest expression of ourselves by simplifying and decluttering the busyness of our lives so we can journey on a path to a more meaningful life.
Katie shares various tools, techniques, and practices to help others fall back in love with themselves and with life by connecting deeply within. She shares her knowledge and her passion to the community within her health and wellness programs and her yoga classes and workshops. You can learn more about Katie and her work at www.katiesayad.com.