Happy International Day of Peace!
I’m very excited to say that I’ll be celebrating the day with a karmic yoga class in the afternoon benefiting another one of my favourite charitable organisations, Amnesty International!
But you don’t need to donate to a charity or do anything particularly bendy to celebrate peace today! Just complete these easy peasy tasks for me:
Say “thank you”. For the blessings in your life, for your health, for your family, beautifully dysfunctional as they are, for the divine, if you believe in divinity, for nature, for chilly autumn days and pretty spring flowers, for your favourite person ever and even – especially – for your least favourite person ever. Say “thank you” for the million coincidences and accidents and tiny shifts that resulted in your being, because if you look back, truly look back at our history, then at our planets history, and our universe… You’ll see that we are all happy accidents. We are all miracles.
Find a moment today to write down the things you are happy for. You can destroy what you wrote after if you want, but just the act of writing it down (pen on paper is best) helps to really pin point and crystallise each individual thing.
When things get stressful or frustrating today, as they usually do, take a moment to focus on your gratitude.
Find a peaceful mantra for today. (It needn’t be Sanskrit, unless you’re into that sort of thing!)
It can be something general like “Let there be Peace in the Forces that act on me” or simply “Peace… peace… peace”, or it can be something very specific to you today. You decide what your mantra for today is.
Like the gratitude practice, write down your mantra. Repeat it mentally and aloud throughout the day.
Find a moment for your self today for a few minutes.
Take a natural breath in. When you breathe naturally your belly should expand with each in-breath. Your shoulders and chest should stay neutral (no big, dramatic shoulder raises and puffing out your chest!). Sometimes bad habits can make natural, passive breathing difficult. Practice this for a moment. Feel your belly gently expand with each in-breath.
Count your inhales and exhales aloud. “In-1-2-3-4,” hold “Out-1-2-3-4,”. Repeat this adding a number each time until you can count to 8.
Repeat the counting exercise in your head and exhale to a “shhh” sound. Follow this up with 8 short, staccato “sh!”‘s, bouncing your diaphragm with each”sh!”
Now a bit of mantra and gratitude breathing to bring in some of that gratitude and mantra practice from earlier!
Breathe in for four counts. Hold. Exhale saying, repeating your mantra until you’ve emptied all of your breath. Repeat several times, as needed.
Think of your gratitude. Breathe in all of that warm, rosy, thankful light. Exhale toxic, smoky, negativity. Inhale joy. Exhale despair. Inhale acceptance. Exhale rejection. Inhale possibility. Exhale fatalism. Inhale wonder. Exhale cynicism. Inhale peace. Exhale conflict.
Now focus on one person to dedicate your breathing practice on. Spend a moment really thinking about, visualising them. Got a sharp mental image? Good. Now you’re going to take a very deep, low belly inhale, drinking in all of the love and energy and peace and happiness you can muster from your surroundings, and you’re going to exhale all of that love and energy and peace and happiness and send a stream of joyful breath to that person! Strong out-breath! It’s gotta go a long way to reach its destination! Repeat. Then repeat this exercise but send your breath to the whole world! Make sure it’s a deep, strong breath, it’s gotta reach a lot of people!
Finish up your breathing practice or your day with a bit of Happy Baby pose because it’s fun!
Start lying on your back. Draw your knees into your chest and grab the arches of your feet from the outside. Being your ankles over your knees and move your knees toward your armpits. (Keep your tailbone grounded and your neck long.) Rock side to side. If you’re crazy like me, you can be an Ultra Happy Baby and start in a seated position, move your feet into your hands and rock all the way back onto your back (controlled movement! Don’t break your spine!!!). This is super fun and will definitely turn you into a Laughing Happy Baby! 😀
Have a happy International Day of Peace. Namaste. Peace. Blessed be. Shalom Aleichem. Peace be upon you. Blessings. Live well and prosper. Whatever you subscribe to, take it with you today.