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Springtime Sunshine Salutations

The Vernal Equinox, clocks going forward and Spring is upon us. A time for sowing seeds and emerging into the increasing lighter mornings. Seeing the beautiful and varied colours of buds and the blossoming flowers adds a vibrancy to nature and brightens our environment. Rebirth or new beginnings, a continuing cycle or cleansing ritual as we awaken from hibernation and re-energise with the sunlight. Darkness yields to the light. Perhaps as our natural rhythm instinctively switches on and our senses awaken, a morning practice feels easier because the sun appears earlier and the warmer temperature allows our limbs to feel more supple and limber, literally encouraging a 'spring in our step'.

Spring is often a wonderful time to embark on sowing the seeds of what may become positive patterns and rejuvenating practices. How we view and interact with our self and environment is vital in establishing these positive attitudes and actions. A Spring cleanse externally and internally. Our surroundings, the choices we make, the food we eat, the content we watch or subscribe to, our thoughts, intentions and words removed of toxins. Finding balance; by not denying but opting an appropriate alternate. Accepting our current circumstances and contentment in those circumstances without reservation. Applying self-discipline; starting, continuing and maintaining but at the same time evolving (if required) to establish equanimity. Self-enquiry; following your instincts and connecting to your heart, seeking guidance where necessary. Surrendering to a higher force, acknowledging we are not in control of all that happens in our life and therefore let go of the consequences, no matter our intention. If we can adopt a positive attitude and counter negativity by seeing things from an opposing view, it can influence and impact in a profoundly harmonious way of living a healthy, content and balanced life.

Patañjali references these personal observances - Niyamas and attitude, in sūtras II.32 and II.33

शौचसंतोषतपःस्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानानि नियमाः |

śauca saṁtoṣa tapaḥ svādhyāya-īśvarapraṇidhānāni niyamāḥ

Purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-enquiry and surrender to the Divine are the personal observances.

वितर्कबाधने प्रतिपक्षभावनम् |

vitarka-bādhane pratiprakṣa-bhāvanam

Negative attitudes or actions [can be] countered by [adopting] the opposite attitude.

If we can apply these personal observances and attitude, it informs the connections we make and Yoga practice we adopt. As things start to open up, communal contact increase and we re-establish relationships, remember to be kind to yourself and others. Practice occurs in many forms and through different means not just on our mat but in the way we interact with ourselves and others. Do we pick up where we left off or slip back into a 'normal' way of life? If we can acknowledge the changes and beneficial aspects over the past year. If we can allow the positive seeds to grow and stay disciplined in the worthwhile changes of pace and focus. If we can appreciate these things then we release ourself from unnecessary suffering, self imposed and/or external restrictions and inappropriate choices. A healthy, prosperous and content life can be experienced.

Remember practice makes permanent, so how and what we practice is important.

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