Life is a spiraling journey. There’s a time to act and there’s a time to rest, and then we begin again.
As I’m reclining on a bolster on the mat in Supta Baddha Konasana, souls of my feet together at the start of a Slow and Steady yoga practise, Sandi (my partner, Soul Guide and fave yoga teacher), reminds us that spirals are everywhere in the natural world – encoded into plants, animals, humans, the earth and galaxies around us. You have only to notice a sunflower, shell, whirlpool, fingerprint, fern, the hair at the crown of someone’s head or the pine cones that are about to land down on us in force, to feel the wonderful sense that we are all deeply connected.
Sandi instructs us to spiral our way up to a seated position, to encourage us to realise that the body is not stiff, linear, disconnected. The head bone’s connected to the… neck bone, the neck bone’s connected to the… (you got it). Thomas Myers talks about ‘The Spiral Line’ in his book “Anatomy Trains” and to cut a long story short, the body is interconnected by a spiral web of soft connective tissue called the fascia that holds everything in place (like a ‘onezie’). With movement, the fascia’s job (amongst many functions) is to to steady us from folding into rotational collapse. For example, if you think about how, when you throw a ball with your right arm, the left leg moves forward, same with walking etc. We’d tumble if the left arm and left leg tried to move together.
Spirals are natural, not just in the physical body but in the flow of life. I’ve been getting into the work of Pema Chodron lately and she says (in my own words) that life is a spiraling journey – that inevitably if you continue to be human you will experience ups and downs, good and challenging times, flow and being stuck at the crossroads, your life will go well and “if you continue to be human, it will fall apart”. This might not seem like a very inspirational topic for a positivity blog, but it is reality.
I think we go around saying “I’m good, I’m well, I’m fine”, when sometimes we are not. Sometimes we put on a brave face and pretend, when the truth is we are longing to have a conversation about how it really is. Our choice to say nothing further exacerbates the feeling that we are alone and that we are not so together as everyone else. It is so healthy to sit in a sacred circle of women and to hear their real stories – their joys, their challenges, their business, their needs and their desires. It is a relief to feel validated that you are not alone, that you are not the only one who is feeling challenged, perhaps overwhelmed even.
The key point I want to make is that so many of us, don’t give ourselves time for the savasana (corpse pose), that time we take at the end of a yoga practise to rest and be still.
At Soul Journeys we’ve developed a retreat model, which has inspired our logo. It’s one that we follow for each retreat, whether it be a one-day mini-retreat, a weekend or a 5-dayer and you’ll see that it’s in the shape of a spiral:
There’s a time to practise and there’s time to rest. There’s a time to take action – which for you might be working, looking after the kids, doing the housework, squeezing in some exercise – and there’s a time to catch up on ourselves. We call that ‘retreat’. A retreat is an opportunity to relax, reconnect with yourself, reflect on your life or ‘the experience’ and build awareness, to return to life renewed – body, mind and soul. It’s not always necessary to go out of your home town to do it. For you it might be enough to blob out on the couch with a good book and a heap of cuddly blankets. That said, for me, I need to get away and to immerse myself and it’s certainly helpful to be supported by a group of women and a Soul Guide who’s intention is to empower you to gather the tools to learn to effectively retreat yourself.
PS: As a mini-retreat idea, I encourage you to google Pema Chodron. Sit down, make yourself a cup of tea and soak in her words. One highly inspirational woman who says it how it really is.
PPS: And thank you @energytherapyuk for the gorgeous spiral tattoo pic.