Whether it’s a new season or a new job, we’re all constantly faced with transitions, and as humans, these changes—even when expected or anticipated—can leave us feeling anxious and unsettled. Yogis are used to flowing through poses in class, but when it comes to life, we might need a little extra guidance to support us from one phase to the next. Here, YJ contributors share how they navigate transitions in their own lives.
Practice Vedic meditation
Sandhi is the Sanskrit word for the space where two different things meet and transition from one to the next, such as the ocean meeting the shore or summer changing to fall. Kala sandhi relates to transitions pertaining to time (kala), like segments of the day or various stages of life. Kriya sandhi is the meeting point between two completed activities (kriya), such as moving from sleep to waking up or sitting to standing. Honoring and witnessing transitions is an ancient Vedic practice, and it provides a strong baseline to return to when the waves of life begin to churn.
At times of sandhi (for example, in the morning, just as you awaken), observe the senses: touch, sound, emotion, fragrance, light. Come back to your heart—that is your being, your prana. Free your mind of limiting thoughts. Your mind is yourself, the atman. For a few minutes, think nothing, feel nothing, want nothing. Simply be aware of your true Self and dwell in atma tattva avalokanam (awareness of atman, the Self). Maintain this flowing observation as long as you can comfortably keep silence, stillness, and a sense of void in the heart of the heart. Such moments of sandhi are an opportunity to recalibrate your day to the peace inside your heart.
Engage in self-study
After menopause, I lost shoulder flexibility, then arm strength. I struggled to attain steadiness in Handstand. I used props and modifications to make the pose more accessible. But I also engaged in self-study (svadhyaya), which helped me process the feelings around my aging body’s limitations, and to develop a sense of gratitude for what it is still able to do. Making adjustments and coming to terms with the body is part of a mindfulness practice. Refining postures within your limitations is a meditation.
—Donna Davidge, yoga teacher and owner of Sewall House, a retreat center in Maine
Embrace nature’s seasons
Spending time outside tunes me in to how each season unfolds, and the unique beauty and wisdom of each change in the forest. It invigorates and calms me all at once. Pausing for a few yoga stretches, for some focused pranayama, or to meditate for a few minutes during a hike helps me feel more grounded and centered. Placing my feet and hands in the water of a cool creek refreshes me, and offers an energy boost if I’m feeling tired.
—Bria Tavakoli, Practice Editor, Yoga Journal