“We practice when we don’t need to, so when we need to, we can.” ~ Krishna Das
What happens to your habits and practices when things get challenging?
I was recently reminded of a story about yoga master Pathabi Jois from 2001. Guruji, as he was called, was teaching in New York City for an extended period of time. The students would meet every morning at 6am to be led through an Ashtanga Yoga practice. On the evening of September 11, 2001, Guruji was asked if he intended to lead practice the following morning. “Of course,” he replied. When asked again if he was sure he wanted to hold class “even now”, his response was, “Especially now”.
Challenging times may not be the time to start a disciplined practice, but a disciplined practice is medicine for the body, mind, and spirit, during a crisis. It may seem counterintuitive, but doubling down on good, healing habits and practices during a crisis will make it easier to get through.
“If you don’t have 5 minutes a day to meditate, meditate for 20”. ~HH The Dalai Lama
There is a reason why so many wisdom traditions offer this same teaching in different ways. It’s true!
Like increases like, and opposites balance. When we are experiencing stress, we need to balance with an equal and opposite force. The more stressful an event, or period of time, the deeper our restorative and calming practices need to be.
This is one way to cultivate the bandwidth to handle larger amounts of stress, and get through challenging times with a modicum of grace. Otherwise, you will burn out, backslide, or fall ill, as the body insists upon getting it’s rest.
Take stock of how you handle stress. Look back at this year and see what practices served you, and where you might need to pay due diligence to cultivating good, life affirming habits that will hold up under the weight of whatever stressful life event may come your way. Practice now, even if you don’t need to, so when you need to, you can.
Take care of yourselves, y'all.