“Start with the breath. The breath is our anchor to the self. The constant cycle of energy that flows through us. By really connecting with this energy, you are able to be fully present in the posture and begin to create subtle shifts in our physical bodies and mindset.”
– Malin Bray
Our heart space. The Anahata. Vast and vulnerable. Wise and precious. Our energetic anchor. We feel the gentle crisp in the air, the coziness of fall drawing us inwards. Just as the Earth changes her seasons, we as humans must honor our own cycles. It seems simple enough, but I feel so often that we get caught up in the fast paced energy society imposes upon us. We all know this feeling, when the heart and the soul get restless. Anxiety, confusion, and array of uncomfortable emotions set in. This is a warning sign from our bodies. Slow down, soften, soothe, satisfy.
We have spent the past few months dancing in the waves, twirling in the summer sun. Moving with the outwards energy of the season. Now we must be quiet. We must sit and listen. Can you feel the pull, spiraling you inward? The heart, calling you back. Whispering “Return. Return.” The fall for me, is a time for self soothing. Curling into myself and connecting deeply with my heart. Practicing self care, to heal my body and honor my soul.
The mind is always moving. It’s tides are ever changing. Through commitment to our yoga practice, we learn to navigate the current of these waters. Instead of struggling amidst the waves, we can gracefully flow. We can drop into ourselves and truly see the places where we’ve become rigid and need to soften. First physically and then emotionally. Yoga releases the tension we hold, the protective walls that we build within ourselves.
Listen closely, the heart will tell you exactly what it needs.
Sink into your asana and allow the body to respond.
Release yourself into the expansiveness that is to be human.
Hold your heart, speak gently…soften, soothe, satisfy.
“Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears.” _ excerpt from one of my favorite books Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Teacher of the Month: Malin Bray
As a yoga instructor, how do you inspire your students?
I try to bring an open heart to each of my classes. To use that energy to create a sacred, safe space where my students can let go physically and emotionally. I truly believe we need to feel safe and secure to experiment and feel playful.
What are some things students who are having a tough time with their practice right now can do to connect with themselves?
It can be easy to get frustrated or compare yourself to other students at different levels in class. You have to remember everyone starts somewhere and anything new will be a challenge. Find the beauty in the journey, in the tiny shifts your body makes each time you practice. The human body is magnificent and mysterious, you must always remember how magic you are.
Why is a teacher and student relationship more important than ever during this time?
You get to set the nonsense aside when you step onto your mat. It’s a place where you can shut all the stress aside and fully be in the present. This to me is sacred. Just as my students are learning from me, I am learning from them. The exchange of energy helps us grow, so we can show up as better humans for ourselves, for the people around us, and ultimately for the planet. Especially now, when we are dealing with such rapid and immense changes, we need a space to balance, to collect our energy and connect to higher frequencies.
Can you think of a particular moment that a teacher inspired your mind and gave you strength?
The two instructors that led my teacher training taught me to be curious. When we are in a challenging pose, our nervous system immediately starts screaming for us to quit. To release the posture, to remove ourselves from an uncomfortable situation. But we can never advance or grow, if we pull out of every posture the moment it becomes too hard. We must push past the edge in order to change. So instead of running, be curious about the sensations. Be curious where the mind wants to go when the body is pushed. I’ve found this advice has given me strength not just on my mat, but in my life. When things get hard, I don’t try to run from it, or cover it up with temporary fixes. I can sit and be uncomfortable for however long it takes. I can be curious about these feelings and emotions.
What are some books or online resources that you find to be a source of inspiration?
I’ve recently finished Carla Fox’s self published book called “Traversing the Infinite Now.” She is a shamanic healer and teacher. The book is a beautiful and simply put guidebook to elevating your life. I also follow Yung Pueblo on Instagram, he has daily posts that I absolutely love because they always resonate so deeply with me. He also has a book called “Inward.”