“But your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it you will find all your paths.”- Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a young Poet
Most mornings, I wake up before my alarm clock goes off. Lying for a moment in this silent space somewhere between being awake and in the realms of dreams before my first movements kick in. A new day awaits in front of me, filled with movements of all sorts.
Movement of the body, movement of the mind, movement of time.
Within all the movement at its root is change. Slowly, I start to move my body, stretching and twisting from my sleeping state to a waking state. Then I roll over placing my feet onto the ground. After a night of sleep and dreams the first time my feet feel ground again. No carpet, a slight cold feeling of the wooden floor beneath my soles. My feet are still warm from bed slowly waking up from the tingling coldness of the floor.
I sit there with eyes still closed. My mind is already a few steps ahead going through my daily schedule. Stop – I bring my attention back to my breath. Feeling it move throughout the landscape of my body. I scan my body until I feel a soft degree of awareness from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. My breath is my anchor.
All day long we breath without giving any attention to it. I can feel the movement of my lungs expanding and contracting bringing my attention to my centre. The questions arise: Where exactly is centre? What does it feel like? Does centre have an isolated location, or does it wander moment to moment, experience to experience, and day to day? And why do we feel sometimes completely out of centre and how do we recentre again? Sinking into our full awareness. Being fully present in this very moment.
Each movement of mind and body arises from the centre, from the core.
When I started doing yoga I always thought that the core means our belly and pelvis. And yes of course, we need a strong core and pelvis for a proper alignment of asana. But the word core comes from the French word coeur, it means the heart. Our very centre is always our heart. To find centre we have to connect to our heart. Our heart is the space within each of us where we feel centered, where we ultimately feel at home. What if home is not something outside but deep within?
The last months this was a topic of much importance to me. Where do I want to live and with whom. Having a place to live where I feel at home, where I can reboot, root and rest. I didn’t feel at home in the place I was living the last years. I often questioned myself if it was of such great importance to change apartments. Would I feel more at home in a different place? Or was I simply not at home within myself?
Now more than ever, I have been thinking about where my real home is and the concept that home is no singular external place, but a space deep within self. We have come to speak of home as the place where the heart is. This brings me to the question, can we be so at home within ourselves that, no matter where we are, we are always home? If home is our central point from which we begin engaging with the rest of the world, how might our lives be changed if centre were no longer a tangible place outside ourselves? How might we live our lives if centre were an intangible place existing within the deepest stretches of oneself?
This is my challenge, my practice, finding my centre, finding home within myself.
When I unroll my mat after getting out of bed and sit down on my cushion for my seated morning practice I have a feeling of home. Turning inward observing and feeling my still sleepy body which feels every time different but so familiar, that gives me a feeling of home. My body becomes still and only breathing is moving my chest – as a breath is filling my lungs expanding and giving space – I can feel my heartbeat, slow and steady. My core, my heart, my home. Sitting upright firmly like a mountain but relaxed, my centre feels fluid and soft, rather than isolated and static.
From sitting with soft stretches transitioning into standing. Flowing through my morning practice, moving from within the centre – twisting and turning, reshaping and restructure every pose to find a proper alignment. Responding to life’s unexpected twists and turns from the very centre of self, reminding me of my own resilience and creativity. We are artists of the most magnificent kind, we are capable of both devastation and creation. At any time, we can reshape and restructure our lives through the beliefs we hold, the relationships we share, and the moments we choose to embrace rather than resist the inevitable currents of change.
When the heart becomes home, it becomes a place we can turn to in moments of need whether it be for: rest, safety, or to ground ourselves. Our home becomes the centre of our world, a place we have access to any time, no matter where we are or who we are with – ultimately we can feel at home, within our heart.