Italy Yoga Retreat Mindfulness Practice

In June I will return to Italy where I am always more conscious of the pacing of life. In the art cities like Siena and Florence the cadence of one’s walk is mindful, never too fast (whether or not you’re walking in heels on cobble stoned streets.) And in the Tuscan countryside the way in which one eats and drinks is even slower so as to savor the tastes completely. Then my travels will bring me to the warmest sun of all, that of the Amalfi area of Southern Italy. There I reconnected to the Sun in the most splendid way while living on Ischia!

And what I observe when living in the sun is that you move more slowly.

Tuscanycollage2013I am inspired to bring this learning back into the practice of Sun Salutations, Surya Namaskar, in yoga class too. There is nothing natural about practicing our Sun Salutes at break neck speed. If that’s the pace then your breath speeds up in a frenetic way causing your mind and body to overheat. You leave feeing frantic even if at first you misidentify this as “energized”.

Try it for yourself, on a sunny day go run around as fast as you can and then observe whether or not you feel more or less connected to your life. For me, I only ever want to feel more, and let light make me see more too. I don’t want to rush in my yoga because I’ve found that rushing in my life only led me to emotional and mental burn-out.

Yoga empowers us to be present to our magnificence but not manic. It is as Stephen Covey writes, “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” Celebrating which in sanskrit is “Namaskar” requires us to enjoy the light of each moment. Therefore Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salutations, are a traditional way to celebrate mindfully the light within us for each of us is self-effulgent like the Sun.

We have no need to prove anything or create undue friction by going too fast. As Hafiz so eloquently puts it,

“I am happy even before I have a reason. I am full of Light even before the sky. Can greet the sun or the moon.”

Today practice Sun Salutation A and B with this awareness. Even practice outside on a sunny day. And for variation in Warrior A try this:

*Inhale reach up from your waist say to yourself “I am celebrating!”
*Exhale hands behind your back in yoga mudra, breath in, breath out and fold, “I am releasing.”
*Inhale reach up
*Exhale open your arms into prana mudra say to yourself “I am receiving”

As you celebrate your life, share your brilliance from the inside out and receive the warm blessing of the sun into your heart. Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia
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