• Irene Quintavalle

On practice, and a gift to you

Updated: Feb 25, 2019


Beloved friends,


Today I want to share with you what practice is, why it is important and beneficial to anyone, and how you could incorporate it into your daily life, and notice incredible benefits.


In touch we find love, kindness, compassion and connection

WHAT IS PRACTICE?


Do I have to have fancy leggings, flat tummies, and a yoga mat for me to practice? Do I have to sing weird songs, go to India, and find a guru?

Do I have to sit on the floor and hold my breath, while sticking my tongue out and looking toward the ceiling?

Do I have to wake up at 4am every day?


When I talk about practice, what is it really?


A practice is simply a consistent repetition of something:

it can be playing an instrument, praying, sawing every day, quietly sipping tea at 5 pm every day, and of course it can also be a yoga practice, a walk in nature, a tennis training.

A practice, my friend, becomes really alive and powerful when there is an intention behind it.

Let me tell you a bit more about me, and what do I mean by the intention that supports the practice.


HOW I GOT INTO PRACTICE

I started horse riding when I can’t even remember. I must have been 4yo or so.

I loved horse riding since the first moment, and continued till I was 12. After a break for a few years, I started again, and between my 15 and 25 I have horse ride every single day, with the only exception of when I was on holidays.

Back then I didn’t know it was a practice, I just went because I loved it, because it made me feel good, because it was my safe bubble, where not even my family wouldn’t enter (and simply because they didn’t really enjoy being surrounded by horse pooh). I would wake up every morning at 6am, for the simple joy of connecting with these animals, training with them, and also expressing myself through show jumping competitions.

By doing the same thing every single day, I became good at it. By becoming good at it, I felt good in myself, I felt I was doing something of value, something that made my heart happy, and my spirit calm.

In the following years, life brought me to different countries, I had to quit horse riding, and I found myself spiraling down into a deep sadness, I couldn’t really understand. Only when I found yoga, I understood deeper what was missing: something that was only mine, my sacred space, where I could just be myself.

Yoga has been just a tool for me to come back to practice. I then started to create an intention before my yoga practices, an intention before my yoga teachings.

The intentions would be around getting out of my own way and serving others when teaching, and around understanding and embodying forgiveness when practicing.

It hasn’t always been an easy road, but with the intention setting, it certainly has become a powerful transformative journey.


WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO PRACTICE

As long as it has awareness and nurtures your body, mind and soul, tt doesn’t matter what is the object of your practice, what matters is that you do it.

We are creatures of habits, and by repeating something over and over; it integrates into the body, on a very subtle, yet powerful, level.

Practice helps to ground, to find stability in the mist of uncertainties; it calms the nervous system, it increases stamina, it increases mental and physical space.


We can also undo bad habits, by creating new practices, it has powerful positive effect on the mind.

And the good news, is that it takes as little as 5 minutes every day to have incredible results.


HOW TO IMPLEMENT A PRACTICE IN YOUR LIFE

At the end of this mail, you’ll find a gift, a very simple practice for you to integrate in your day, but either you choose to do it or to do something else, my suggestion is that you actually start from a very small commitment: doing something you love, for 2 to 5 minutes max, every day.

It is way better to do the same thing for only 5 minutes every day, rather than not doing it for few days, and then spending 2 hours, once a week, or once a month. When time and space are available, increasing the length of the practice can only have positive effects, but otherwise, is best to keep a small and consistent commitment.

By keeping those 2 to 5 minutes thread alive every day, your body will remember, and your life will have such a positive impact from it.

I would also recommend for you to choose one moment during the day, where you know you can spend those few minutes uninterrupted.


I personally find the very beginning of the day my favourite time: I roll out of bed and I do my practice (which has evolved a lot since the strong yoga practice days, and is now more gentle and soothing to this moment in life I am experiencing). Many people though, enjoy to practice right before going to bed.


It doesn’t really matter when, yet I would suggest you to start by practicing at the same moment of the day every day, at least till the practice become a natural routine.


I also bet that you will encounter moments of boredom, resistance, and tiredness. For those moments, be kind with yourself, and keep in mind that, no matter how you feel, the way you show up to your practice, will inform you how you show up in life.

Practice is such a beautiful mirror.


WHAT PRACTICES CAN YOU DO

I suggest you to lean towards something you already love, and either deepen it, or start doing it.

It can simply be that when you walk or simply pet the dog, it may become a moment of connection between you and your pet. For 5 minutes, practice being present with what it is, just as an experiment.

Or when you drink a tea, at home, do the same. Let the phone aside; just sit with your cuppa. Be curious of what’s there.


These can be practices you might already be doing, and the only fact of bringing awareness and intention to it will shift your reality.


If you’ve always want to learn photography, guitar, sawing, or anything you felt the call for, show up to it for only 2 minutes every day. It might not even look or sound great, but at least you have sat with what you love.


Let the practice show you. Be curious. Be open.

And important! Remember to acknowledge yourself at the end of it.



MY GIFT TO YOU

Either you already have a practice, either you don’t, I want to share with you a very simple practice that is so dear to my heart: The practice of loving touch.

This practice will bring awareness to the way we touch our self and others, and will increase the sensation of our body.


Whenever you have 5 minutes (and who doesn’t have 5 minutes?):


Take one or two deep breaths.

Imagine a light from the top of your head that descends, right into your heart as you inhale.


Pause for few seconds only, and imagine your heart becoming bigger and bigger.


When you exhale, visualize, imagine or feel the light that is now in your heart moving into your arms and hands.


Place your hands anywhere in your body that needs some attention, or that simply feels right, pleasurable, comforting.


Be present with the sensations of your hands on your body, on your skin.


Feel, both onto your fingers, palm, or back of the hand, the sensations of touch, and on the sensation on the area you are touching. Gently stroke, press a bit more firmly that same area, and just observe the change of sensations.


You can do this in 5 minutes, even sited at your desk, simply taking a moment to put your hand on your lap, and for 5 minutes, giving all your attention there.


If you have more time, and want to explore more, after you take 1 or deep breaths into your heart and out through your arms, start touching your body from your feet, and move up. Don’t forget any part of your body (back of the knees, groaning, genitals, elbows, behind the hears and into the hears, nostrils, skull..).


When you finish, take a moment of gratitude, or simply bow, to yourself, as you have completed your practice.



Please, let me know how you go, and if you have any question.


May joy be in your heart.

Irene


#practice #touch #kindness #selflove #sensations #dailypractice

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