Years ago, I worked in a nursing home. From time to time, I had the honor to sing to a resident as they were transitioning from this life. I remember always being amazed when one of the nursing staff would “predict” that someone didn’t have much longer for this lifetime.
“How can you tell?” I asked. “ Mr. _____________ has been so much better today!”
What I learned is that sometimes when someone is about to transition, they have what is called a surge of energy. It could last for days, hours, or even just minutes before passing. The person may be more lucid, more alert, be more interested in eating/drinking, talking, trying to resolve something from their past, giving last instructions, etc. This phenomenon is sometimes called “rallying” and can be compared to when a pregnant woman gets a surge of energy before going into labor. This period is also known as “nesting”. Pregnant women all of a sudden may have the urge to clean and prepare the house for the new baby. These surges take place before the transition of new life begins.
I’ve noticed that my knee surgery recovery has had “surge moments”. Unlike a gradual improvement that I could measure, day by day by day, I’ve felt like my recovery has had these tremendous upswings where all of a sudden, I’m feeling better. All of a sudden, I’m able to do something that gave me great difficulty the day before. All of a sudden, I don’t need my walker. All of a sudden, my leg feels strong. All of a sudden, my limp is drastically lessened. I used to be so frustrated with how slowly I felt my progress was going until I understood that my body was doing an “upsurge healing”.
I’ve noticed that my yoga practice has had “surge moments”, where all of a sudden, a posture or a mudra isn’t as challenging as it once was. And you know what is so magnificent about that? Our yoga practice helps us IN the moment and also in FUTURE moments. I read an article on square/box breathing, which said: “Studies suggest that box breathing may have the ability to change someone’s future reactions to stress. Researchers have even suggested that ‘relaxation response’ practices, such as meditation, deep breathing and yoga can alter how the body reacts to stress by changing how certain genes are switched on.” (Medical News Today: “What is Box Breathing”, Adrienne Stinson, June 1, 2018). Click here to practice this breath with Jodh (on our YouTube channel). Literally, the work you do on your mat now benefits you now, and is also “stored” to help you for future events where you may need extra energy, or more calm in your life.
“Pranayama refers to breathing exercises which clear the physical and emotional obstacles in our body to free the breath and so the flow of prana - life energy. Regular and sustained practice of Pranayama can supercharge your whole body!” (“What is Pranayama?” by Esther Ekhart). How fascinating-- the very first thing and the very last thing we do in this life, is breathe. All the breaths in between the first and the last can help us to free our energy.
This time of year can be difficult. It’s cold. It’s dark. We may be feeling sluggish, lethargic, unmotivated. This is the perfect time of year to incorporate Surya Kriya into your practice. “Surya” means “sun”, so this kriya is all about warmth. Sun energy! It helps us develop mental clarity and focus, and it brings balance to the hormonal levels in the body. It helps to boost vigor and vitality. You can help to give yourself the extra energy and vitality you need to get through this season.
Besides the challenges of the season, we are also coming towards the end of the year 2020. Some of us may be nervous heading into 2021. New president. New vaccine. Job and financial growth...?
What a transitory time we are in!
I keep reminding myself that my practice helps to keep me grounded. This community helps to keep me supported. This practice serves me well, even when I’m off my mat. I’m confident that the work I do on my mat helps to keep me “surged up” to face the challenges that arise off my mat.