Bowl of Wellbeing is ‘a one year program for women to explore self care through Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation’. Run by Mary Paffard and her daughter, Cyd Bernstein, it is presented as an online course each year. Lucky for many of us, it has also become available as a book so that women all round the world can benefit from the guidance and insight of this journey. Each month there is a specific Ayurvedic principle to explore, along with a yoga posture, a meditation, an artist and a goddess!
I first came across this book last summer, when I was working on my prayer bowls, inspired by the tutorials at Art Witch Academy. I was searching online for all things to do with prayer bowls and bowls in general when I found this beautiful book and was instantly intrigued.
I usually rebel against self-imposed disciplines and structures. However, I have discovered that where art is concerned the opposite appears to be the case! My Micro-seasons Creative Journey and 30 Days of Yoga project showed me how I can use the accountability of an art project to connect me with the things I want to focus on in my life.
In 2020, I plan to journey month by month along with this wonderful book, journaling about my experience in my Bowl of Wellbeing journal.
Here are the pages from my wellbeing exploration this month, which is all about sleep, rest, and the nourishing aspect of the dark.
I have always been a bit of a night-owl, going to sleep way past midnight and waking up very reluctantly each morning. Having a night-time routine has been quite a revelation. I have discovered that it’s not just about turning out the light at a certain time. It’s about all the things you do (and don’t do!) in preparation to make that more likely to happen.
This is what my night-time routine looks like at the moment along with some of the things I’ve been discovering:
My favourite hot spiced drink is the Turmeric Latte by Pukka Herbs made with almond milk and a spoon of honey (Ayurvedic tip: add the honey once the drink has cooled a little.)
I don’t usually remember my dreams but since I’ve been doing the Courting the World Soul class with Sharon Blackie, I have started remembering them much more often without even trying. Isn’t that strange?
Mornings are the other half of the equation. My preference has been to slowly drink a cup of tea while pulling a tarot card for the day. One of the recommendations in the Bowl of Wellbeing book was to read a chapter in Claudia Welch’s Balance Your Hormones Balance Your Life which is all about morning routines. There is also a lesson in the Level up class with Caylee Grey which is all about mornings and finding the magic balance for you.
All of this inspired me to throw in a little bit of yoga and meditation before the day begins:
Turns out I still get to drink tea and pull a tarot card (with perhaps a little less time to do the tea-drinking part!)
It feels important to ask the question: “What does wellbeing mean to you?” I’m hoping some answers will emerge as I move through the year.
Mary Oliver is the artist inspiration for January’s Bowl of Wellbeing. It has been really nourishing reading her poetry before going to sleep at night. This poem really stood out for me:
It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch
a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.’
― Mary Oliver, Thirst
The goddess inspiration for this month is Inanna, Ancient Mesopotamian Queen of Heaven who visits her sister Ereshkigal in the Underworld. I was reminded of a poem I wrote several years ago as part of the NaPoWriMo challenge which retells the visit of Inanna to Ereshkigal in a darkly humorous modern day version. The full version is available to read here.
Meanwhile, my foot flared up quite strongly which seemed to be its own invitation to visit the Underworld. Plans to go out on adventures were put on hold and I had to take things easy while my foot calmed down.
I started the month with the intention of doing two home yoga practices a week. I was really glad that I had made this commitment as I still turned up for practice even when my foot was hurting and found ways of working that didn’t put pressure on my feet. I wrote down the sequence of postures I did so that I will have it as a reference for future flare-ups or when I simply need to give my feet a rest.
I love how flexible* yoga – Iyengar Yoga in particular – can be in adapting to all sorts of physical challenges. This is one of the main reasons I have stuck with my yoga practice for so long. (*Excuse the pun!)
Thank you for joining me for this look through my Bowl of Wellbeing journal this month. I wish you all a nourishing February!