"The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned." Maya Angelou
Home is a refuge, it's complete allowance of being exactly as you are, it's love, safety and joy, a sense that everything is ok, you are ok, this is ok.
Home stirs a primal sensation deep within us, of safety and contentment.
'Home is where I hang my hat'. When we come home, whether that be where we live, returning to our childhood home, to our yoga mat, the ocean or in a hug, it's a sense of hanging up our worldly human cares and woes at the door and coming to that 'special place', home within ourselves, where we are comfortable and at ease.
Home is a word we have heard and used a lot this year."Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives".
Once more our yoga practice is a home practice as Lockdown 2.0 restrictions ease but not enough to resume our usual classes. December too is a time synonymous with sharing our home with extended family, sharing happy moments and making special memories .
"When there's love in the home there's joy in the heart. When there's joy in the heart there's love in the home " Jennifer Williamson
Yet we know staying home has not been easy for so many this year and a COVID Christmas will be very different and certainly more challenging for so many.
With so much focus on home I've been drawn to explore what 'home' really means.
I think home can be interpreted as many different things; our physical house/abode, a specific location, our whole planet Earth, our physical body, a state of mind/emotion or a sense of peace deep within us.
Often though, we blindly follow society's expectations of what home should be, only to find that we don't feel 'at home'.
"Going home means getting comfortable being who you are and who your soul really wants to be. There is no strain with that. The strain and tension come when we're not being who our soul wants to be and we're someplace where our soul doesn't feel at home." - Melody Beattie
Home is a feeling not a physical place, how we feel in that space makes it feel 'home'. A house filled with a loving family, making happy memories and supporting each other, creates a home. A place on earth where we feel safe and free, a body that feels strong and healthy, a mind that experiences calm and kindness, a heart that knows love and a soul that feels peace, these we can call home.
“Home is a shelter from storms-all sorts of storms.”-William J. Bennett
Because home is a feeling we can find it in many places, not fixed or exclusive to one place or time. This year I have felt a strong sense of 'coming home' when rolling out my yoga mat and when getting out in nature. Both of these soothe my mind and emotions, both move my body keeping it healthy and strong, both take me back home, to my Self. Stepping away from the craziness of day to day busyness, stress, emotional ups and downs and back to the stillness within, true home.
What does home mean to you? What or where does that feeling of home stir within you?
What takes you there, maybe it's a piece of music, a smell, a loved one or a ritual that stirs it within you.
Our mind acts as a filter to how we feel, and our mind goes everywhere with us, so the quality of our thoughts are essential to feeling 'at home' whether that's in our physical home, a special place on earth, in our bodies or in our hearts.
"The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven." - John Milton
We could be in the most beautiful idyllic place in the world, surrounded by loving friends/family and have financial security, but if our mind is filtering all this through a filter of anxiety, then we wont feel 'at home'. In contrast we hear stories of people who live in deprived conditions, living in hardship we can't imagine and yet they find joy and pride in their homes and lives, they have found that peace within, their true home.
Our physical homes used to be our place of refuge from the world, now with the internet, our homes are less private. For some, especially during this pandemic, the internet has opened up our homes in such a positive way enabling us to feel connected and less isolated/alone. Nevertheless the internet can also bring the difficulties of the outside world glaringly into what was once our place of refuge. We have to be mindful who or what we let into our virtual homes so that we treat our online home as a place of refuge too.
Rolling out your yoga may not be the same for you as it is for me, it may not make you feel 'at home' but I believe your yoga practice is a brick in the path that will take you there - heart, mind and soul.
Whilst practicing yoga classes online doesn't have that same connection and intimacy that a live, in person class does, it still gives us a place, a time and the tools to find our way home, that sacred place of acceptance and contentment that resides within each of us.
Make your home practice a sacred, intentional act of hanging up you hat and coming home. Prepare your space, ensure you have room to practice, that your chosen place is a comfortable environment, one that doesn't make you look at chores to be done! Maybe light some candles, or play music that stirs your soul, wear something that makes you feel good, light incense or burn oils. Be mindful as you unroll your mat, choose a comfy cushion and soft blanket to nourish your practice. Allow enough time so it doesn't feel hurried and you're not thinking of what you'll be doing next.
Make time and space, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Allow the practice to leave all the heaviness of the world at the door and give yourself permission to come home.
This month I am making the whole back catalogue of Online classes available for FREE to any students who wish to practice them at home during December.
All you need to do is email me and I will send you the all the new links from April - November!
I feel blessed that I have a comfortable and happy home, that I live in an area of this world that has ample green space to enjoy and connect to and that I have a sound practice which keeps me sailing on smooth waters of the ocean of the mind and heart. I have great empathy and compassion for those that don't have a safe home, that dont feel at home in the own bodies/ minds and I care deeply for the health of Mother Earth - our home for all living beings.
This year I am supporting three charities that I feel nourish HOME - Greenpeace, Crisis UK and Suffolk Mind.
All these charities work tirelessly to make 'home' a place that is accessible for all.
If any students are in a position to 'pass it on' then I am encouraging donations big or small to any of the these charities by following the links here:
I wish you all a wonderful Christmas & New Year, for you to be happy and healthy and feel truly 'at home', mind, body & soul.
I'll be back in January, until then...