I love rituals. They anchor me to my intentions and have a magical way of leaving me feeling connected to something greater than myself.
Interestingly, as the year comes to an end one of my rituals won’t be writing down a list of goals. I get a sense they would only get in the way. I prefer to lead life from my belly. My intuitive guidance. My mind can’t possibly know all the answers. There has to be a bigger energy at play. Plus, what’s the point of having a goal if my intuition decides to pull me in another direction? I trust in the process and flow of divine guidance interlaced with my intuitive instincts and actions. My life then has a magical way of unfolding organically and effortlessly (well, nearly always, if my mind doesn’t get in the way).
Intentional rest and letting go
My preferred ritual for the end of the year is a restorative yoga “letting go and integration” practice (pictured below) which I’ll be doing for one hour a day for 7 days over the holidays. Yep, lying on my yoga mat in relaxation pose with a few props and focusing on nothing but my breath. Easy in theory, sometimes a little tricky in practice.
The higher purpose: to digest, integrate and let go of whatever no longer serves who I am today on all levels – physically – emotionally – intellectually.
The best part? I don’t even need to know what it is I’m letting go of or integrating.
I trust totally my body knows what it needs to do when I give it my therapeutic breath, time and the space for intentional rest and permission to let go.
My focus is simple. Breathe continuously into my body, past the collar bones and allow my breath to penetrate deeply into my organs, muscles and cells. Moving the breath intuitively to wherever it needs to flow. Breath by breath, I feel subtle releases from my body as I’m able to relax, let go and sink even more deeply into my yoga mat.
When I breathe into the tensions I’ll be letting go of stuck emotions.
When I breathe into the restless energy I’ll be letting go of past agitations.
When I breathe into the racing thoughts I’ll be letting go of past and future worries.
When I breathe into my belly I’ll be letting go of anxiety
When I breathe into my liver I’ll be dissolving residual anger
When I breathe into my kidneys I’ll be dissolving lingering fears
Being still and focused only on your breath and body has profound and beautiful consequences. I’d so love it if you could join me and share your experience. I’m starting today – right now in fact.
** If one hour a day is too much, then please, please, please do a minimum of 20 minutes a day. This will have life changing effects on your neurological and physiological energy systems over time.**
Props that may help
Know there is no right nor wrong way to do this. The key is for your body to feel safe, warm and comfortable by using blankets, cushions, yoga bolsters, books, eye pillows, towels or whatever works for your body on that day. It may change. What felt comfortable yesterday may not feel comfortable today. Ask your body.
You might like to:
1. Add a yoga eye pillow (or folded towel) across your eyes. I find this incredibly relaxing for my eyes and mind. Plus, it reduces eye stimulation from a brightly lit room. Important.
2. Support your neck and head well. Wiggle your head so you have length at the back of your neck. Add an extra blanket under your head if needed. Chin should tilt slightly towards the heart but not too much as to close or bunch the throat.
3. Super important to keep warm, so cover yourself in a blanket. You will get cooler.
4. Roll a blanket/bolster/towel under your knees if you feel any discomfort in your lower back. You can even place a rolled blanket under you ankles if that feels right for you.
5. A single folded towel or blanket under your hands, wrists and lower part of your arm is divine. Elbow should be slightly lower than wrist. This subtle adjustment can help deepen the relaxation experience. I love it.
6. A yoga eye pillow gently resting in the palms of each of your hands is simple yet magical.
Here are a few articles you might find helpful:
Meditation timer app
If you’re worried about the time then I can happily recommend the Insight Timer meditation app which I personally love and will be using for my letting go ritual. One of the features which I find extremely useful is the option to journal or jot down a few words after your relaxation/meditation. Perfect for those memorable “Aha!” moments.
If you’d like to find out more, here’s the link to an article I wrote earlier this year.
Peace, love and chocolate, Carole
Know you are always welcome to email me.
This article appears on midlifexpress with Carole’s kind permission. You can read more of her wonderful words at her blog thehealthylivinglounge.com