In early April, I finished a wonderful 10 week training programme on Meditation and Pranayama with Kia. I learned a lot of subtleties about my mind and my breath. One of the things that stayed the most with me is the concept of rhythms. We live in the midst of so many rhythmic formations: the seasons, the tempo of the week, the patterns of our work, mealtimes … All life is pulsation, expansion and contraction. Kia contextualised the rhythms of our bodies. We have circadian rhythms that happen over 24 hours, like sleep and waking time. We also have ultradian rhythms, the ebbs and flows that repeat within the 24 hours span such as blinking, heartbeat and nostril dilation. This last one is one of my favourites, and I have been tracking it 4 times a day for a while now. Whether I am left or right nostril dominant tells me a lot (I know: I am a geek).
Being in sync with rhythms is important, to be able to see clearly, to feel spacious, and even to enjoy being alive. Scotland opened on Monday again after 4 months of lockdown and rhythms around me changed again: the streets are busy, the shops are open, and I began to teach live, in a room. This is, of course, excellent news, but I notice I have had to adapt my own rhythms to this new situation. There is commuting time, things are not as quiet as before, my body is more tired because it goes somewhere to teach rather than roll out of my chair or bed, I need more energy to teach in two modes, online and live…
In the last year of lockdown, I discovered quietude and silence and more than ever I am grateful to my newly established daily meditation practice (thank you Kia!) to help me navigate life from a balanced perspective. As we take these new steps, I feel I need to exercise my reflexive capacities to not let myself be carried in these new rhythms which might not be my own, but to have agency and make decisions about what I need. And that might be not falling into the dominant rhythm, the louder one around, but to listen to quieter ones, to the underlying pulsations.
There is always something you can do with rhythms: balance them, invite them, get out of them and follow others, slow them further, beat only once every three pulses … What rhythm in your surroundings you want to attune to? What do you harmonise with? What loops you need to get out of? Which of your own rhythms you need to listen to more?