Mindful Incubation | How to practice self-acceptance

Updated: May 17, 2020

Guest Blogger; Denise Davis-Gains

Atlas Yoga Studio


Through the traffic jam of creativity in my brain as we roll through the blur of being in this unprecedented chasm of daily living I feel the word incubation arising. Like a bubble in a cartoon conversation. A word that is sticking and my thought flow is streaming in and around this precious concept.

There are few moments in our lives when we are forced into a state of transformation so clearly then as at the present moment. All of the ideas that have been rolling around in my mind, my journal, scraps of napkins and green pieces of paper on my clipboard have been forced into a universal tumbler and only the truly relevant, meaningful, useful pieces are surfacing.

In the first 3 weeks of isolation I served my family, my clientele, my community, my world at large. Since Sunday, I have been exploring how I can be present for my world and yet turn inward and use this opportunity to really explore the gems that could only be born from a moment like this.

I am painting, I am writing, I am cleaning, I am organizing but most importantly I am incubating.

I am not sure who will come out of this cocoon. I am not sure she will be the same woman who went in. My first experiences with meditation and mindfulness were part of the cocoon that swaddled me through undergrad studies, relationship turmoil and the stress of becoming an adult. Today, those same practices, along with an almost daily physically demanding yoga asana practice I am feeling the structure of a lifetime of tapas supporting me, mitigating my fears, reminding me to breath, giving me permission to sit and be.

We are children of the Universe and as a child of this Universe I want to practice radical self-acceptance. I use a variety of natural therapies in my professional yoga practice, right now the basic tools – yoga stretching/strengthening, breathing, relaxation, meditation and self-study are serving me and as I share these practices online in our live classes, zoom meetings and telephone calls I am reminded that these tools are not a placebo. They work and these simple practices help me, and others, manage the good and bad stress of the present. Most importantly, I am made aware that I am enough, I am worthy, I am well and it is ok to be happy. This practice stops me from projecting onto the future and ruminating about what I should have done in the past and helps me to become more present for my family – some of which are in isolation with us and some who feel far, far away.

One of the simplest tools, taking a deep breath, activates our parasympathetic nervous system, the rest-and-digest system.

It is why online learning, even sharing yoga from my sun porch through zoom, is helping me and those who are making time to practice feel more relaxed, more spacious, soothing frazzled nerves and anxious minds. Yoga works on an even deeper-level, the practice brings our attention to breathing patterns that create this state, teaches us to relax consciously and systematically and provides the opportunity to explore the inner workings of our heart-minds. This is the place, the point, where incubation and transformation connect. We come away from each experience, somehow different. Better. The key to making that transformation stick is practice. The more we practice the easier it gets to access this altered state of consciousness. A little less reactive to the ebb and flow of the world around us.

May we have the space that we need as a global community to incubate and come out, in some way, better, resolute in our determination to maintain the best of what arises from this incubation period.

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