I love the blossom and spring bulbs that grow at this time of year. The explosion of colour - of pinks, yellows and soft white is a treat to the eye after the greyness of winter – the magnolia trees, blossom trees, daffodils and then the tulips. The new blossom brings a shot of joy into my pandemic restricted life. I’ve definitely got an added spring to my step.
Flowers are potent mood elevators found a study by Jeanette Haviland-Jones at Rutgers University in USA, and can trigger a heartfelt, true, full-face smile – but then you probably knew that already! Flowers have an immediate impact on happiness; a long-term positive effect on mood, and having flowers around you can decrease levels of on-going stress. Through flowers we can connect to a sense of being alive, to nature and to beauty.
Recently, in my yoga classes, we have been practicing flower gazing meditation. I encouraged everyone to bring a flower to class or to have a picture. Visualisation is also a powerful tool, and flower gazing can be practiced in your imagination.
In hatha yoga the gazing meditations are known as trataka. The author Robin S. Sharma calls this ‘Heart of The Rose’ and encourages us to practice it every day to achieve inner peace and satisfaction.
The subtle healing powers of flowers is why we give flowers to those who are unwell or who are grieving. They're also a way to say 'I'm sorry', or 'I love you',
There are many widely reported benefits of meditation (regulating blood pressure, decreasing stress and more) and this combines with the amazing benefits we receive from flowers in a simple seated practice.
Sit comfortably upright with the flower just below eye height, take 3-5 minutes (longer if you like) to notice in turn the shape, then the colour, the texture of the flower, look deep into it’s centre – into it’s heart.
To further connect with flowers, and to have some fun - try these flower poses:
Padma Mudra – this is lotus hand gesture to connect to our hearts, and to our centre to feel balanced. The lotus flower is seen in yoga as having its roots in the dark, muddy waters representing fear and ignorance, and its flower of light and purity floating above.
Flowering or Blooming Lotus, it's Sanskrit name is Vikasitakamalasana
Increases balance and helps mindfulness, this pose also allows us to tap into our inner playfulness.
Sit on the floor, bend you knees and bring you heels together, tilt back until the feet float away from the ground, slide your arms through and join the index fingers and thumbs together.