Tenderness & Connection

"And thus the snowdrop, like the bow

That spans the cloudy sky,

Becomes a symbol whence we know

That brighter days are nigh ”

George Wilson

Around us, if you pay attention and are fortunate enough to get out in nature, you will start seeing the first delicate signs of Spring. The Snowdrop is usually the first to appear, the first sign that Winter is ending and Spring beginning. A reminder of the phases and cycles of nature, everything in its own time.

The Snowdrop represents rebirth and the power of overcoming challenges in life. Hope in a better tomorrow and better times - we all need a little of that right now.

The Snowdrops are fairly hardy and survive frosts and snow, nevertheless as the days and weeks go by other bright green shoots will start appearing that aren't as hardy. There is so much growth happening underneath, so much potential deep in the dark soil, but when those first shoots start appearing they can be delicate, tender and vulnerable.

"It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed." Doe Zantamata

Whilst we've been cooped up, not just over the winter but during each lockdown, ask yourself, what's been growing and stirring within you? Have you been tending seeds of beautiful flowers or pervasive weeds? Are these first bright shoots of growth eager to poke up through the earth, or are they feeling hesitant, not quite ready to break through into the world?

The work of our practice last month on strength will have planted seeds and supported the beginnings of growth, the growth of ideas, dreams, realisations and self discovery. Tender shoots of that work may be starting to surface from the depths of our souls. When we see these starting to emerge we can become blind to the work that brought us to this point, focusing only on what we see above the surface. Timing is everything, if we become disconnected to the work, the root of those ideas and dreams, we may move too fast too soon or in contrast be hesitant to move forward from the comfortable warmth and support of the earth.

Our Sankalpa this month is to connect those new shoots of growth to the work we've moved through deep below the surface. Bringing tender awareness to that new growth so that we trust the timing, when to push through the challenges and when to rest and conserve our energy….to be patient and present.

The present moment is a unique configuration of time, place, circumstances and situations. The present moment does not supply the same scenario as it did yesterday, last month or last year. It's time to let go of the past and fully embrace the now. This you, in this time and place, circumstance and situation.

Observing nature reminds us of the phases and cycles of life and of the fact, that change is inevitable.

"We are not separate from nature, we are all part of this one life, a life that manifests in countless forms." All completely interconnected.

"We depend on nature not only for our physical survival. We also need nature to show us the way home, the way out of the prison of our own minds. We get lost in the doing, thinking, remembering, anticipating - lost in a maze of complexity and a world of problems. We have forgotten what rocks, plants and animals know. We have forgotten to be - to be still, to be ourselves, to be where life is: Here and Now." Eckhart Tolle

The month of February, the month of love, brings our relationships into focus. We are all connected and our connections require tenderness, mindfulness and presence.

We each bring a web of experiences and conditioning with us to each relationship. We're quick to form opinions of people, label then and pass judgement. But that's not who they are, just who they appear to be. We judge everyone for their growth above the surface without connecting the journey they've been through to arrive there.

Can we bring true connection and tenderness to all our relationships this month? Not just those that are closest to us, but every relationship, interaction and conversation. We may need to draw upon our roots of strength from last month in order to practice this consistently.

In terms of our practice this month, we will dive into the relationship we have with ourselves in each moment - Here and Now. A unique opportunity to bring an awareness of the connections we have within us: our physical body, our breath, our mind and our emotions.

We will create a deeper awareness to breath led movement, feeling into where the movement originates in the body and where the effects of that movement ripple out to.

Using nature as inspiration we will be working with the natural elements: earth, water, air and fire.

Grounding, flowing, warming asana practices connected to the breath (air). Nothing forced, a very tender practice which is rooted in deep strength and trust.

"The sun shines not on us but in us." John Muir

When it comes to maintaining momentum I find February is the hardest month. January is full of drive and big goals, March onwards feels more energetic because Spring is springing and the days are lighter but February is when I can lose momentum. It feels hard work with little reward and the light at the end of the tunnel seems too far away, I become disheartened. If you find the same, perhaps choose be tender and kind to yourself - but don't stop moving and growing. Recognise growth is hard, progress is hard, like the plants pushing up to break through the mud and the earth, but keep going and have hope, it will get easier.

"The Lotus flower, which touches the mud, touches rock bottom, but never loses its beauty, beauty means to keep growing, always" Brahma Kumaris.

Being tender doesn't mean giving up, it just means taking the foot off the pedal occasionally, taking things slower but not stopping. Perhaps being flexible and adaptable in order to keep going. If mentally it's too much, then focus on the physical, if physically you're struggling, focus more on the breath or the philosophy. Tenderly change up your practice in order to keep going. Maybe miss a physical practice but add extra breath work or meditation, or allocate time to sit and learn more about the directions you are striving towards. For example if it's to improve flexibility, find out about the anatomy of stretching, if it's to cement healthy habits, find out about the science of creating and maintaining good habits, if it's the philosophy or spiritual side etc then there are lots of great books and podcasts for every aspect you could possibly imagine. As long as it's connected to your goal/dream/chosen outcome then it's all part of that growth. Mind, heart, body and soul, it's all interconnected…..just don't stop, you've got this and it will be worth it.

love - connection - tenderness - hope

"May the life stirring underground stir new dreams to life within you. May the flames of inspiration and passion be ignited in your soul."

Imbolc Blessing, The Seasonal Soul

If you'd like to join me for a very tender practice this month, rooted in deep strength and trust then follow this link to book February Online.

See you on the mat



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