Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why practice yoga?

Let's see....because it makes you feel good.  Becuase it can be a great place to meet with great people.  It could become a great place to meet people.  I always feel this great source of empowerment.  Like I can go through anything and all will be fine.  I'm convinced that if I got up every morning and spent the day doing yoga my life would be more complete and organized.  So, I spend most of my days thinking about ways I can incorporate yoga into my daily life.  Here are a few...

The morning commute provides a wonderful opportunity to remind yourself of that peaceful intention that may already be fading into oblivion in the onslaught of aggressive drivers, red lights, and snail-paced traffic. Can you imagine how your neighborhood would change if all the drivers transformed their anger into compassion? And if all the world’s drivers (and non-drivers) did? As you wait at a red light, take a deep breath into your belly and with the exhale let go of all the chatter, all the self-imposed disaster scenarios (“I will never make it on time”) that your mind has so skillfully created. Instead, focus on your breathing to come back to that peaceful oasis that is always present within you. Any pranayama techniques work well – try the ocean-like sounding ujayii breath with emphasis on the exhale for a calming effect, or perhaps a round of the breath of fire to warm up on a really cold winter morning. Send loving kindness thoughts to the driver ahead of you, the one in your rear-view mirror, and even to the one that just cut you off. “May he/she be safe.” The choice is yours – do you want to fill your mind with anger and perpetuate what’s going on around you or can you reach deep within to break the cycle?  I have found that no matter what happens on my journey, I always get where I'm going at the same time.

During your workday, find new and creative ways to bring your awareness to whatever situation arises. Can you observe what makes you tense, and send your breath there to release the tension – just as you would in a yoga class? Use your lunch break to experiment with poses that can be done while sitting at a desk, or – if you are really fortunate to have adequate space available – do a few poses to feel energized and refreshed for the rest of the afternoon. If you spend your day hunched over a computer, shoulder stretches (such as Eagle/Garudasana or Cow/Gomukhasana arms) combined with deep breathing will feel delicious and relaxing.  Stretching is always a good way to get the blood flowing naturally and mind back where it needs to be.
As you return home at the end of the day, stay with the intention to be aware and kind. Despite the pressure to multitask at all times, observe whether being fully present doing just one thing at a time may be more satisfying. When you cook, cook. When you do laundry, do laundry. Breathe. Realize that happiness is contained in every single moment of awareness. If you have an evening yoga practice, this may be a good time to explore the deeply relaxing nature of forward bends as well as reclining and restorative poses. Let go of the day. Sit for a few minutes to quiet the mind and to give thanks for the opportunity to practice the ancient discipline of yoga, which simply means connecting with your true nature.  Remember to return home and be there.  Give the only time you get to be home home-time.  Let it all go....You're never going to get the time back!

May your life be peaceful and happy.

Parts of this post were written by  Eva Kuhlman, Highland Yoga Co-Founder   7/31/2005

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