Photo credit: David Mark
The most fun I have, bar none, is dropping down into West Bowl on a powder day. The terrain is steep, and when I get fresh tracks, skiing a line that no one has skied yet, I’m giddy and full of joy. Every single cell of my being is engaged in this. There is no part of me that is not joining together in this focused, purposeful movement.
The biggest tip you get once you start skiing off trail in the woods is this: “Look for the white spaces; don’t look at the trees. Where you look is where you go.” And this, like many skiing metaphors, is a way forward through the challenges of life. Look for the openings; look for the space in between the difficulties. Look for the open doors.
Although the deep snow seems to carry me, I’m working hard to keep everything in balance and on top of a forever-moving target so I can keep it all together. The feeling of joy this brings happens when everything is working in harmony. It happens when I do the work of keeping my body and mind healthy with every tool I have. Then I forget about all the work, and I ski. And it feels like magic.
Looking for Magic
At the end of the day we’re all looking for magic. This includes the ability to affect change, sometimes miraculous change, in our lives at will. Energy wants to move and flow, and once you start to listen to it and tune in, it will take you on amazing journeys.
The healing journey I take most often is to walk barefoot. Any time I can, I plug myself into the earth’s energy to help bring my body back to a neutral, calm, and energized place. I tell everyone to plug themselves in, to access the free, abundant, healing energy of the planet.
I love to press my face into the fresh grass as I’m lying on my belly. I love to have my hands and feet pressed into the dirt or the sand or the grass. Let yourself touch bare earth as much as you can. And don’t just take your shoes off. Take off your outside layer, your house or your car or your jacket. Take off your civilization and get out into the natural world.
Go somewhere quiet, where there is only water or wind in the trees or bugs clacking. Get to a place beyond buzzing and motors and Wi-Fi and interceptions. If you can, do this once a week — at the very least. If you’re compelled to do more, then by all means the more you immerse yourself in the natural world, hiking for a full day, camping out spending 24 or 76 or 108 hours with the bugs and all, the better you will feel. It is a powerful healer.
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And when you merge back into your life, it will remain with you. The silence between the beats. You can find pockets of nature even in a bustling city. Stop near a tree and place your hands on its bark. Breathe in its fresh air. Even this small amount of stop in your day is powerfully healing.
Learn To Stay With Yourself
The trick to living this life is to stay with yourself. So often, we leave. We run or obscure or deny or hide from ourselves in a million ways. A health crisis, an emotional crisis, or a spiritual crisis are all times we can check out. But we tend to check out no matter what is going on. We’re always on our phones, computers, TVs. We don’t schedule relaxation time, time to do nothing and simply be still. We need to learn and practice staying present and being still, receptive, open.
When your body or mind goes into fear or anger, or an illness descends, you need to learn to treat yourself with compassion as if you were a small child again. Only now, you will do the ministering, the mothering, and the fathering to yourself, instead of looking to the outside world to help you.
This is the start of self-love and self-compassion, and it is the place you need to get to in order to feel whole and at ease. No one but you knows exactly how it is inside your specific being. No one but you knows exactly what you need to salve your wounds.
When I’m going through something difficult, I notice my own tendencies to want to run away and hide. This is how my water expresses itself when I’m out of balance. And when I’m going through something difficult, I’m frequently out of balance.
Start Simple: Listen To Your Heartbeat
I’ll often start with something very, very simple. I’ll sit or lie down and hold one or both hands over my heart. I’ll first start to just listen to my heartbeat. That is the initial way in. If things are really bad, it might take a long time for me to feel it. After a time, the heartbeat will become strong, and I’ll start to feel a softening and an opening. Almost as if my chest itself is opening. Almost as if I could hold my actual heart in my hands.
Then I feel my heartbeat on another level. I feel it holding me, surrounding me, and bathing me in the coherent resonance of love and light that is my inherent nature. Bringing me back into the harmony of my own being.
This, at the end of it all, is the deepest power and source of yoga. The light within. The love within. It is there, at all times, waiting to hold you. And when you surrender to it, to yourself, to your own love, you find a resilience that might surprise you.
Your whole life might surprise you.
You just have to let it.
©2017 by Lauren Walker.
All Rights Reserved. Excerpted with permission.
Publisher: Sounds True. www.soundstrue.com.
The Energy Medicine Yoga Prescription
by Lauren Walker
When you’re dealing with a health issue, what kind of energy practice will help the most? "To bring ourselves back into wellness," teaches Lauren Walker, "we first have to understand what brought our body out of wellness. When we return to balance, the body is best able to heal itself." With The Energy Medicine YogaPrescription, Lauren brings you an invaluable guide to help you uncover the root causes of specific physical, emotional, and psychological health complaints―along with a treasury of potent self-care practices to accelerate your healing. (Also available as a Kindle edition.)
About the Author
Lauren Walker is the author of The Energy Medicine Yoga Prescription (Sounds True, 2017) and Energy Medicine Yoga: Amplify the Healing Power of Your Yoga Practice (Sounds True, 2014). She's been teaching yoga and meditation since 1997, and created Energy Medicine Yoga while teaching at Norwich University. She teaches EMYoga across the US and internationally, and has been featured in Yoga Journal, Mantra Yoga + Health, Yoga Digest, and the New York Times. She was recently named one of the top 100 most influential yoga teachers in America by Sonima. For more information, visit EMYoga.net.