by Katie Burdick
As you listen to the thought, you feel a conscious presence – and your deeper self- behind or underneath the thought, as it were. This is the beginning of the end of involuntary and compulsive thinking. ~ Eckhart Tolle
It took me a long time to enjoy shavasana at the end of yoga class. Like, a really long time. I would fidget. Impatience would wrap me like a suffocating blanket, urging me to sneak off my mat and tip toe out of class. Only my self-consciousness would stop me from being “that person” who leaves early. I would lay there, mentally creating lists and tapping my toes, already sending my energy to my next three or four tasks of the day. The sense of balanced peace that I had painstakingly cultivated during my yoga practice melted away to become a sound bite for when I rattled off what I accomplished in my day.
Now, years later, “corpse pose” is a close second to my favourite – warrior pose. I am notoriously off-balance, literally and figuratively. When I mastered warrior pose, I welcomed the most amazing sense of power and groundedness. I planted my feet with a confidence that I lacked elsewhere. A confidence I forgot I possessed, one I thought that had left me long ago. As I imagined roots growing from my feet and raised my arms with an unwavering surety, I took the deepest breath of my life. I was warrior, hear me roar! And in that moment, I was present.
Yoga class gives me the opportunity to cultivate and practice what I preach. Daily in my therapeutic life, I coach clients on how to incorporate coping skills and mindfulness practices in their fast-paced, frantic lives. We are not all lucky enough to have an hour daily to spare to hit the mat and relish the gift of movement. But when we do commit, we strengthen our ability to tap into the sense of peace and balance when were are pressed for time.
Take a moment to think about your “perfect” version of you. Yes, no one is perfect, but for the sake of visualisation, I want you to imagine the ideal version of you where you are self led. Envision a version of you that embodies all the best parts of yourself: the mom who has unlimited patience for their child, the spouse who doesn’t take out their financial stress of their partner, the person who values self-care above all else. That person feels pretty calm, don’t they? What if you could access this version of you whenever you wanted?
You can! The practice of mindfulness is just that – an activity or exercise performed repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency. When we work at becoming more mindful in our lives, we see the amount of time we embody peace and happiness increase. When we slow down, we allow time to think about our reactions instead of just emotionally responding to any given stressor. We tap into our creative sides and express our greatness. We are fully present for our loved ones to be able to connect and support one another.
A practice can start with five minutes a day. An easy way to begin is by adding a mindfulness component to something you already do. Shower in the morning? Notice the feel of the water on your body or the shampoo in your hair. Eat lunch? Put your fork down while chewing and take note of the taste, smell, texture, temperature and sound of your food. No time to eat, but are a coffee junkie? Hold your mug in your hands and inhale. Guess what, you were just mindful. The more moments you can string together throughout your day allow you to access that space that connects you directly to your self. Over time, you will notice an overall improvement in your mood, emotional reactivity, parenting, sleep, weight management, concentration, and many other areas of your life.
I invite you to seek small moments in your day to take pause. If you can engage in longer practices, such as meditation, journaling or yoga, I celebrate you. But know that even just a moment spent in mindfulness allows you to connect with your most powerful tool – you.
Katie Burdick is an empowerment coach for empaths, light workers, healers, intuitive’s and highly sensitive people. Her background includes training in mindfulness practices, energy healing (IET®), and formal academic training as a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist with a focus on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Katie is a Spirit Junkie, writer, animal-lover, pacifist, modern-day hippie, yoga enthusiast, tea addict and red wine connoisseur. You can follow Katie on Twitter and Facebook.