“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed."
These times we are experiencing right now are unprecedented to say the least. Though we may have experienced immense personal or familial grief, loss and hardship, it is unlikely that we have ever witnessed or been effected by something so globally threatening and devastating as much as the Coronavirus.
I have been reflecting on my previous journal posts and recognize that the wisdom of understanding and harnessing the Vayus, is an art and skill that is still very much applicable and can help and support us in this particular period of strain and uncertainty:
The path to experiencing and harnessing the Vayus, involves us turning our attention away from the innumerable mental distractions, energetic hooks and noise that we face in our modern culture and instead return to the deep internal wisdom of our own body and emotions.
Whether we are required to work from home from our computer or not, we tend to rely on the internet and our digital devices for a source of social engagement, communication and entertainment. The recent shelter-in-place mandate may restrict us to stay put and only make essential trips to the hospital and supermarket but it is not demanding that we stay glued to our screens. If you do have to spend eight hours working from your laptop as part of your job, there is an even better reason to find other activities to engage you after you have finished your work day. I personally, other than periodically checking emails and text messages from clients and friends, am choosing to take a bit of a 'digital detox' over these next weeks in order to maintain and refine my sensitivity and connection with nature and to nourish my creativity, rather than numbing out or succumbing to the hype and bombardment of information from online resources.
Rather than the addictive and alluring social media scroll, Netflix binge-watch and constant headline checking (that we are all subject to), I have listed here some alternative offline activities to help keep our minds, our bodies and our souls in tune and in balance:
Go for a walk - Focus on the elements around you; the feeling of the solid ground beneath your feet, the smells, sensations and sound of the air and wind, the warmth of the sun on your skin, really absorb yourself in the moment.. feel yourself alive and breathing!
Call a friend or relative - Without facetime or skype see if you can focus on the sound vibrations and subtle sensations in the silence between the spoken words.
Read books, magazines and newspapers - Write down a quote or cut out articles to share with a friend or make a collage of images and words to inspire an art piece.
Listen to music - Dance, move your body freely, close your eyes and follow what is inside you.
Sort and rearrange closets, cupboards and bookshelves - Declutter your space to help declutter your mind.
Handwrite letters to friends and family - Be creative and make the card yourself by painting, collaging and utilizing materials around you.
Bake and cook - Try some new recipes or revisit old ones. What did you like to eat as a child? Make something comforting and heart-warming. Be creative with what you have stored in your cupboards before you head to the supermarket.
Draw and paint - Paint like you are dancing.. listen to what is coming from inside you as you make marks on the paper. Make the act a sensual experience and sense the paints' and materials' textures and smells as you are working with them. What emotions are the colors and marks expressing?
Knit and sew - Crafting is very therapeutic. Once you get into a rhythm with your stitches, notice where your mind wanders. Do any thoughts or emotions bubble up to the surface?
Meditate - You don't need to sit on a cushion to be in meditation. Whether sitting, standing or lying down, whatever activity you are doing, bring your full attention to it and observe your breath while doing it.
Practice Yoga or Tai Chi - If you already have your own personal practice, WONDERFUL! If you are struggling to maintain a regular practice there are a multitude of high quality online offerings available, however I highly recommend, if you can, DO NOT to look at the screen but after logging in, try to follow the verbal cues without relying on watching the instructor. Join me!.. take the opportunity to connect with me from the comfort of your own home, turn your screen off or away from you so that you can listen to my voice and directions and feel into your own body, heart, soul and spirit.
This week, these classes will be LIVE and we will connect through ZOOM:
NOON FLOW | 12.00 - 1.00pm | YOGA KULA - Click here to register
HATHA YOGA | 5.30 - 7.15pm | NEST YOGA - Click here to register
SLOW FLOW | 8.45 - 9.45am | NEST YOGA - Click here to register
VINYASA FLOW | 5.00 - 6.15pm | NEST YOGA - Click here to register
THE BIGGER PICTURE
When we get caught in the drama of our mind chatter and mental loops, it can be helpful for us to remember that there are bigger forces at play in this pandemic, that are far beyond our control. It also helps to remember the bigger picture and to consider the many in this country, perhaps even on our own doorstep that are struggling and suffering far more than we are. To stay calm, grounded and at ease, I like to focus on the things that are in my control rather than the things that are not. As well as the advice we have all read about vigilant hand-washing and social distancing, I have a listed here a few things that help me as I contemplate the devastating effects of Coronavirus and how I can personally and actionably respond to this crisis:
Be part of the solution:
Think of three people you know who are in greater hardship than yourself because of this crisis.
Think of three offerings or ways you can support them, keep them calm or uplift their spirits.
Offer that help.
Return to gratitude:
Go for a walk in nature.
Write down and list all the things you are grateful for (often the little things are the big things).
Keep coming back to that list.. give thanks.
Support the economy:
Keep your memberships, it will help to keep your local yoga studios, arts organizations and non profits in business. Often there are online offerings or creative alternatives to practicing and studying as well as options to extend your benefits through this period of social distancing.
Support local businesses through your online orders and purchases to help your favorite shops and restaurants stay afloat.
Invest in your own health and wellness, the benefits will ripple out to those around you and your contribution will help to sustain your favorite teachers and practitioners through financial instability.
We are not alone.
We are all connected.
We are all in this together.
A WAY TO WELLNESS | YOGA OUTDOORS | CONNECT WITH YOUR ELEMENTAL NATURE
To respect the mandatory six foot distance restriction that has been set during this time of social distancing, all of my private and semi-private yoga sessions will be held outdoors. This is a perfect opportunity to align with the forces greater than ourselves and reconnect with our inner compass and a deeper truth away from the spin and drama of news and social media.
"The Chakras are your doorways from the material world
to the world of the universal intelligence, intuition, and inspiration."
This series is ideal for yogis and non-yogis alike; those that are interested in the connection between body, mind and spirit, this seven part series will give you an in depth introduction and understanding of the five elements, the yogic energy centers and the practices that can help you to align and bring them back into balance. Each class will include 60 minutes of Asana and Pranayama practice followed by 60 minutes of discussion and dialogue that will be both informative and responsive according to your personal experiences. Each session will be followed by shared written material to inform your practice and guide you to a deeper understanding.
This series is limited to four participants in each class. As an intimate group, we will support each other through the shared experience with plenty of time to work on each individual’s particular concerns and postural alignment.
Sunday March 22nd | 1.30 - 3.30 PM
EARTH as it is primary and tangible, is perhaps the most accessible of the elements. Often we begin our yogic journey by practicing physical asanas, connecting first to our physical reality (our muscles, our joints, our strength, our flexibility, our limitations and our ailments). We tend to focus on bringing balance and healing to our physical bodies before we explore and encounter the more subtle aspects. By connecting with the Earth element, we lay a strong foundation and safe structure to move on to more complex and challenging practices.
The ROOT CHAKRA governs our sense of safety, stability, security and self preservation. When off balance or blocked by fear, we feel low of energy, alienated, unsettled and easily angered. When in balance we feel secure, stable, full of health, energy and vitality. It is connected with the downward flowing energy APANA VAYU.
"Generating stability and support through the bones and connective tissues of the feet can help regulate the nervous system, increase circulation, and improve respiration. The earthward rooting of the foundation of the body can help bring composure in the face of difficulty, whether it is a fragmented family, a health crisis, a failing marriage, or a precarious economy.
To this end, standing poses in yoga help to build endurance, steadiness, and resolve."
Drop in (best to register in advance): $50/group session
(listed above) + $100/private Crown Chakra Session
Full Course Taken Privately (dates and times booked at your convenience): $1100 The only pre-requisite for this class is that attendants have had at least one private yoga or Reiki session with me prior to this series. If you are interested in joining us for this series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a private session before the first class. This is so that I can know each of you and your intentions for taking series more deeply, allowing her to support you all more fully as we journey together.
PRIVATE YOGA SESSIONS
If you are unable to join me for the Chakra Series, you can schedule a private session or semi-private session (you can split the cost with a friend or partner) at a time that is suitable for you. Sessions will be held outside (at six feet distance) outside my home studio in Emeryville (see picture above!)
"Laura and I had a beautiful yoga session on the bay last Thursday. In her side yard I could see the bay, sailboats, Monterey pines, and the bright sky. I am an infrequent yoga student and Laura slowly took me through some poses so I could discern how to balance better and how to position my hip or foot or knee to hold a posture stronger. Laura embodies relaxation and breath practices. She makes me feel like these practices are accessible to me. Who knew that relaxed meant bending my knees a bit? During this time social activities are limited, I was so happy to have this opportunity to experience yoga more intensely with Laura."
Sara Sanderson, Berkeley, California, USA.
"I've been fortunate enough to have several yoga practices with Laura Shirreff recently. Her one-on-one personalized sessions were transformative and enjoyable. My primary focus was to reduce stress and she leveraged various breathing practices to help me to accomplish this goal. I have practiced yoga for numerous years with various yoga teachers, Laura by far is the best! You can tell she LOVES sharing the benefits of yoga practice and she is attentive to your individual yoga needs. She is patient and compassionate to her yogis and I can't wait to practice yoga with her again."
Kimberly Kam, El Cerrito, California, USA.
SINGLE SESSION: $150
5 x SESSION PACKAGE: $625
10 x SESSION PACKAGE: $1000
Email me for more information and to schedule your session: email@example.com
Some views from my side yard..
MORNING | SUNRISE
EVENING | SUNSET
INVEST IN OUR MOTHER EARTH
Through this time of crisis and financial strain, RIGPA ARTS remains dedicated to investing in our Mother Earth.
RIGPA ARTS will continue to donate 5% of all sales of private sessions and the online offerings listed here to organizations that help and support our planet.
We believe that together, we can make a difference.