Everyone faces them. Some are happily avoidable, others succeed in temping you to dive in head first, eager to greet them.
Any single challenge can be perceived either as an opportunity or an obstacle depending on your point of view. Which will you choose?
As I introduced in last week’s blog, late summer ushers in the season associated with the Earth Element in Taoist practice and TCM, and this particular Element's attributes make right now prime time for a self-imposed challenge of opportunity.
Craving one last summer fling, like an end of season vacation or a fall wardrobe overhaul? That’s the Earth Element’s energy imbalance knocking at your door.
Any change in routine resistance or nervousness (like back to school jitters or even the discomfort of trading in “carefree summer days” for a more serious, structured fall) is an expression of the energetic imbalance.
Experiencing Earth's other extreme — boredom from your daily routine — is also a manifestation of this energetic shift.
A challenge may be just what you need to mitigate the discomfort of change that the Earth Element brings at this time of year and to implement Earth’s abundant flow of knowledge, gut instinct, and intuition that flows so freely this time if your are willing to embrace it.
You likely started your yoga practice to feel more connected and present with yourself and the greater world, so set yourself a challenge to harness the seasonal energies.
Here are a few ideas:
Rev up your practice: choose one aspect to focus on for the next month. This may be your balance, concentration, or mastering one particular part of a posture that has been alluding you.
Personally, I focus on sticking to my practice routine and not getting distracted and pulled off my mat at this time of year. I feel the boredom of routine pull on me, but when I stay true to my practice, the comfort of the routine soothes my natural anxiety at this time of year, and rewards me with a strong body.
Activate your brain. The thinking mind is primed to soak up knowledge right now. Read a book on a topic you enjoy or subscribe to a new podcast. Take the 7 Centers Challenge if you haven’t already. Dive into learning.
For personal stimulation, I step up my greek language lessons this time of year.
For business growth, I plan out the next 12 months now because my brain in ripe with new ideas and primed to acquire whatever new skill sets I may need in order to maximize the coming year.
Take time to listen to your gut instinct, the brain’s visceral knowledge speaking to you through your intuition.
Find daily quiet time away from your routine to nurture this, even if only a few moments each day. A quiet morning cup of coffee, an extra moment in savasana, or even your shower time can be used for inward reflection.
I take a short sabbatical this time each year. I leave my studio, my personal practice, my comforts of home, and technology. I unplug from my everyday routine and source my own well of knowledge, creativity, and self-expression. Fewer distractions allow space for my innate knowledge, previously, unseen, unheard, and unknown, to make its way up to the surface of my psyche.
Every Element lives inside you. Learn to recognize, balance, and utilize each gift so you can shine brightly all year round.