One of my favorite visualizations to guide students through during yoga nidra or savasana is one where we wade through the river of life, swimming past the rapids of bills, mother-in-laws, coworkers, and friends; we get out of the river and stumble upon a beautiful place.
This place can be anywhere – your bed, the Grand Canyon, a cafe in Paris, a jungle from your imagination – whatever feels most relaxing and comforting to you. I adore hearing what students’ special place is. A place where the quiet spaces of your mind can expand, your body can relax, and most importantly, where you feel safe.
We rest in this place, fully, soaking in the sounds and smells, looking around and even feeling the ground. We GO there.
My place is a wild meadow filled with lavender. Maybe it’s by the ocean, maybe there are deer grazing nearby. I go to this place everytime I offer this visualization, and when I’m having trouble falling asleep or quelling my anxiety. It’s automatic now.
Last night I was taking a walk and I passed a house with a beautiful garden, abundant with lavender. Despite being in the middle of town with my feet on the concrete and cars whizzing by, I was immediately transported to the meadow. Anchors lifted off my shoulders, a smile lifted the corners of my mouth, and my fast-paced walk suddenly transformed into a lovey, twirly stroll.
I can’t even verbalize all the ways that mindfulness enhances life. It’s not just the effects you feel shortly after doing it, it’s the pathway that’s formed in your mind. Going to that place over and over becomes as easy as walking to your front door, and suddenly, you’re at peace. Anywhere, anytime.