Peace Begins Within: A Five Step Approach

Updated: Jul 30


Peace begins WITHIN. It is almost daily that we hear some news in the world that

can affect our sense of peace, safety, and groundedness. Our minds rarely have

time to be still due to the external world and our own busy lifestyle. It is

important to find tools to go within and find calmness and peace. Here are five

steps to practice inner peace:


1. Be Still. Start with 5 minutes of quiet. Close your eyes. Sit comfortably on a

chair, on the floor, or a peaceful place outdoors. Allow your thoughts to

come and go, without attachment. Notice them, like clouds, then allow

them to pass. Some days the mind will not be still, and that is okay. Add

step 2 to go deeper in this practice and to continue to train your mind.


2. Follow your breath. Become aware of your breath like you are just

discovering a long lost friend who just entered the room. Maybe lift the

corners of your lips into a smile. Let your breath ebb and flow as you bring

your awareness to the rise and fall of your belly and chest. Never

underestimate breath work, or what is called pranayama in yoga. Focusing

on your breath can help center you from distractions, and experimenting

with different types of breath techniques can help elevate this readily

available tool:

- The 3 Part Breath: Inhale, filling the belly, the middle part of the chest,

and the top part of the lungs, all the way up to the collarbones. Exhale,

top, middle, bottom like you filled up a pitcher of water and now are

emptying it.

- Ujjayi Breath: This breath is also known as the “victorious breath” or

what I compare to as the “Darth Vader” breath. Try it! To practice,

imagine you are exhaling as if to fog up a mirror, but do so with your

mouth closed. It also sounds a bit like the ocean; perhaps practice in

stillness, with eyes closed, visualizing yourself on the beach. You can

also practice whenever you feel anxiety. Ujjayi breath engages the

parasympathetic nervous system, the “rest and digest” pathway to the

body.


3. Mindful Movement. As you get back to your day after finding some quiet

time, try to be completely present in your actions. How often do you drive

from point A to point B and don’t remember getting there? Or if you took

your vitamins just minutes before? The best way to train your mind to stay

present is to engage in an activity like yoga. If you look at many yoga

studios’ schedules, you will see a variety of classes from restorative to

power yoga classes. How can that all be considered yoga? Yoga is about

the body, mind, and breath connection, so there are all types of offerings to

allow an individual person to meet that objective. Yoga is about stillness of

the mind, which some achieve through a slow flow and others achieve

through a power flow. You have to find what works for you, whether that

be on the mat or off the mat, such hiking, running, biking, or swimming.

Just move…but mindfully.


4. Ishvara Pranidhana: Contemplation of or surrender to a higher power. This

is one of the ni-yamas, or essential practices, that yogis are often taught

before getting on the mat. If you have a spiritual practice, engage with

ishvara pranidhana by taking time to connect with your beliefs. If you don’t

have a spiritual practice, connect with a power beyond yourself by

spending time in nature.


5. Go Explore. Due to one of Peace through Yoga Foundation’s objectives, we

truly believe that getting out of your comfort zone or away from your

everyday routine is essential for transformational growth. A racing mind

might still be with you the first day of a trip, but you will soon be present in

your new environment, experiencing a sense of peace without the daily

news, emails, social media, phone calls….


After hiking over two weeks on the Camino de Santiago in Spain this past

spring, I am a firm believer in immersing yourself into a different culture,

pursuing a change of scenery, and shaking up your daily routine.


For those who know me, the world of travel has been my entire career and

a big part of my life beyond work as well. Upon recent reflection, I believe

traveling is a form of yoga. There are always moments of stillness as you

take in a new sight that will take your breath away; where you will release

your “monkey mind” as you stay present and explore your new

surroundings. This can occur by going to a state park close to your home,

getting in the car and driving to a local attraction just hours away, or

traveling to a place on your bucket list.


Peace begins within, and we want to provide you with the tools to carry on your own

journey.


Namaste!

Sally Bassett

July 2022

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