I’ve been thinking about the subject of holding space. This is a big part of how I spend much of my time: sharing yoga & movement classes. I view holding space as the most important aspect of this work. I used to think of it mainly as creating a calming atmosphere: Lighting, music, tidiness, etc.
This is what holding space for myself looks like:
Early morning practice
Each morning when I wake up, I sleepily stumble out to my yoga mat. I light candles and turn on music. What happens next is typically different each day. I usually do some repetitive stabilizing movements, roll around on some massage tools, stretch my arms up overhead, move any cricks and creaks from the previous night’s rest. Then I sit down to meditate with the hope that I can simply enjoy being alive: sitting, breathing, and feeling. There are also days when none of these things happen. I come to my mat and lie down and that’s really all I can muster. This is where the next piece of holding space comes in: acceptance.
Acceptance for how I’m currently feeling.
This has been a challenge for me. I would honestly rather be happy and playful all the time. I don’t like feeling sad or annoyed or anxious.. But who does? I acknowledge that they are necessary human feelings. Let me clarify that this doesn’t mean I let the emotions take over (very often). For example, when I feel anxiety, my instinct is to escape from my life. I just want to get into my bed and binge a tv show; or daydream about moving far away. My practice in holding space for anxiety has been to accept the feeling as it is, knowing that it’s very likely I will always have this occasional feeling. I then remind myself that I don’t have to figure anything out right now. All I have to do is the very next thing. One step at a time.
This is where developing a rock solid routine of self-care comes in. When it’s set in your calendar as a non-negotiable, it gets done! It gets done when you’re feeling good.. It gets done when you’re feeling bad. The biggest barrier to having time to meditate/ personal practice / any time that’s set aside just for you -- is consistency. Keeping an appointment you made with yourself is incredibly difficult- because letting ourselves down is the easiest thing in the world. The second someone else's convenience / time / resources are affected, we jump to make things happen. So how do we overcome this in order to keep holding space for our own growth? Schedule it, set your alarm, make it a non-negotiable, and show up for yourself. Be there. Witness your breath, thoughts, aches, emotions, energy, and pain with kindness.