Written by Kayla Reetz, Yoga Teacher
"Make it so the only thing you have to think about is your breath." - Kayla Reetz
So many times throughout our day, we plan.
We make an agenda of what we are going to accomplish, how we are going to accomplish it and at what point in our day we will follow through.
And then….life happens and we lose control. C’est la vie (such is life).
Sometimes this lasts for a moment…for a day…a week…a month. Then there are stretches of time when life keeps challenging us.
The old me- the version of me before I came to yoga and Challenge to Change- would have reacted as I saw others react in these situations.
I would have used anger, frustration, blame placing, and all the other learned behaviors I observed. These, as we all know, are not healthy or helpful.
Yes, sometimes it might feel good in the moment to let out my emotions. But after that, I'm left with nothing but a heap of something to clean up- both inwardly and outwardly. 💩
Lessons from the Lotus Flower
Recently, life happened to me. I was in moments where I thought I was doing the right things and it turned out that it wasn’t. Back to square one. Ugh.
It was in these moments that I came back to Lotus Flower mudra, using it in the same way I teach children. I came back to my breath. I like to say the phrase “make it so the only thing you have to think about is your breath”. This is what I did.
I sat in my car, hands on my knees in a breathing anchor, and closed my eyes, visualizing the mudra in my mind. And I took a few breaths. I prefer to do this in silence, usually, but sometimes having non lyrical music in the background has helped me in the past as well.
And, just as I teach students, these practices don’t magically make our feelings disappear. They are not a tonic or salve that can erase events or receding hairlines, but they can help us to move through the emotions.
They help us to acknowledge the event happened or is happening, and it allows us to pause and decide how to move forward.
Sometimes that means creating an alternate plan, letting go, or choosing a different course. And sometimes, it is acknowledging we are not in control and try to let it be. We move forward.
We embrace the now, knowing that it may not be exactly what we want, but that it does not have to last forever. It does not have to define us even if it surrounds us. And there are so many moments in life- in that of a child and an adult- where this happens.
Can you think of a current or recent one in your life? Know that you're not alone!
I share this aspect of my life because I am also a Yoga in the Schools instructor and I discuss these exact issues when they come up in a child’s life. I wanted to share what I say about the Lotus Flower mudra because maybe you need it today, too.
Lotus Flower Symbolism
At its core, the lotus flower is a reminder and an affirmation that you can do hard things.
Practicing the lotus flower mudra helps you to feel more confident, determined and proud.
Mudras or hand signs are basically yoga for your fingers. They're known to cultivate healing and well-being in the body. The best part is that they can easily be incorporated into your day - whether sitting in traffic, at your desk or while sitting outside.
Please feel free to read through and enact the following story using your hands (I promise-it’s way more fun than just reading it). Or watch my video below!
Make a tiny seed between your thumb and pointer finger. Now, take that seed and plant it at the bottom of swamp water. That’s right. Swamp water.
Keeping your hand in the water, start to imagine that little seed’s surroundings. Is it hot or cold? Light or dark? Is it fun to swim in? Is it the safest place to be?
Most seeds don’t survive in a place like this, but this seed chooses to defy the odds.
It begins to grow. Toward the sun, toward the light and warmth. It chooses the path that is good for itself.
It knows this path is not easy. It’s going to be difficult, and yet, it keeps going. It moves forward.
It knows that it is surrounded by many things- things it can’t control- but it stays steady on the path. It knows that it might have to pivot, it might have to begin again, but it keeps trying.
It keeps striving, and eventually, it gets to the top of the water-the closest it possibly can to the light, and it blooms into the most beautiful flower you have ever seen.
Knowing this flower’s path, does it make this flower less? Does it make it more?
Sometimes, when we know the path was difficult, it makes us appreciate the present more. Lotus Flower reminds us we can do difficult things. It reminds us to not be concerned with what surrounds us and to simply keep moving forward. Striving. Thriving.
Breathe in thinking the words “I can” and breathe out thinking “do difficult things”. Take another breath thinking “I can” and “do difficult things”.
Take one more breath, allowing your body and your mind to reset, to seal. Take as many as your body needs in this moment.
Now, move on with your day, knowing you can always come back to this moment whenever you need to. We didn’t need any special equipment- it stays with us always. All we need is our mind, our body, and our breath. We can now look at any situation objectively and be calmer in the choice moving forward.
I wish you nothing but peace. Peace in your mind. Peace in your heart. And most of all, peace in the rest of your day.