A blog post by Mary Moscarello. To read all Mary’s blog posts, click here.
I know we’re all stuck inside these days. But it may surprise you to hear me say that I’m grateful. Easy for me to say? Well you may be right. Before all of this happened, I was very accustomed to working from home. I’ve done it for nearly a decade, the better part of that time, on a full-time basis.
In talking with family this week, I realized that I pretty much left the house in my car only to go buy groceries, go to church and practice or teach yoga. All but my liberty to go on the first errand has been taken from me. A lesson in taking things for granted? You betcha.
And yet, in the middle of all this upheaval, I am finding my sense of gratitude really keeps me going.
I’ve seen wise teachers advising and sharing a message of grounding. Which makes sense. In order to help us ground, we connect to elements that help us feel rooted. Often you’ll begin a yoga class by becoming aware of your root or muladhara chakra. The seven chakras, subtle energy centers, are said to run up the spine. Each chakra has its own color and sound that can be chanted to further deepen the connection to that energy center.
Located at the base of the spine and our connection to our sense of security and safety – the root chakra is a logical place to start if one is feeling unsteady or unsafe. Its color is red, the sound is LAM (lahm). Balasana or child’s pose is commonly offered to open the root chakra.
Here’s a simple root chakra meditation that you can practice if you are feeling anxious or any time of day, no matter where you are.
Sit tall, shoulders back and down, chin parallel with the floor.
Inhale deeply through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Close your eyes and breathe this way a few times and allow your body to relax.
Draw your awareness to the area below your tailbone. Take a moment to observe any tension there. No judgement.
Imagine a red glowing light at that location. Picture the glow small at first and then let it slowly enlarge as if an ember from a fire were there. See if you can link your breath to the ember’s growth. Inhale – the ember glows brighter, exhale – the ember expands. Practice this breathing and visualization for as long as you like, perhaps as long as five minutes as you become more adept at it.
When you feel ready, blink open the eyes and observe how you feel.
For me though, meditating on gratitude provides a sensation of safety in a more tangible way. If you mapped gratitude on a chakra chart, it might fall partway between the heart and throat chakras. Makes sense, between the place where we feel love and the place from where we communicate.
When I begin listing all the things for which I’m grateful, I usually end up counting a few more (hundred) things that I hadn’t planned on numbering. It would be foolish to try to count all the things for which I am grateful during this pandemic, because I might actually run out of digits – but here are a few (in no particular order)
I’m grateful that technology allows me to practice yoga at home with familiar teachers. I’m grateful I can still teach my students in a virtual way. I’m grateful so many teachers, studios, museums, theaters, musicians, learning institutions (Yale, y’all!) are offering free access to performances (The Met), courses, meditation, pranayama practice and other ways to connect.
I’m grateful my parents (my whole family and all my loved ones for that matter) are healthy and well where they are and that my recent birthday gathering did not end up endangering their health.
I’m grateful my daughter, home from college for the rest of the term, loves to cook and to bake and is quite good at both those things. (The above is a vegan banana bread that was heavenly – didn’t last a whole 24 hours) I’m grateful for the abundance of healthy food I’m able to afford and provide my family.
Finally, for now – I’m grateful for you, dear reader. I hope that in some small way I’ve inspired you to ponder the things for which you are grateful these days and that doing so brings you a sense of safety and security in these challenging times.