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I’ve been a fan of yoga for over 15 years. I’ve gotten away from practicing as much as I’d like to, but I’ve vowed to get back to an hour a day (another resolution – I think #6 to be exact!). I love everything about the practice, mainly the way it makes me feel inside and outside. I had even considered putting up a yoga and pilates blog a while back, but it just never materialized….yet, anyway.
So many of the fundamental teachings of yoga are parallel to our everyday life. It really struck me recently as I was writing an article about the basics of yoga.
For example: Think of the words that occur over and over again in this ancient practice:
- Discipline: To learn the poses in yoga, you have to be amazingly disciplined. To produce the outcome that you’re striving for, you have to work hard and not waver – you can’t become so discouraged that you render yourself useless. There will be some poses that are harder than others…there’ll be some you can’t hold for longer than 1 minute, let alone 3. There will be other people who hold their poses longer than you, possibly even better than you, but you’re not in competition with them – you’re in competition with yourself.
- Focus: While attempting a yoga pose, you have to find a spot (a focal point) on the wall ahead: As you go into the pose, as you hold the pose, and as you come out of the pose. If you look away even for a moment, generally the pose falls apart and you’re left flailing like a cat on a waxed floor. You can’t allow distractions to take your eye off of your focal point – it can be a struggle, but that little tiny eye shift (a.k.a focal shift) will be your downfall.
- Relaxation: To be able to practice the discipline of yoga properly and effectively, you have to relax your body and mind. Tensed up muscles don’t function properly – they just get in the way, so you’re taught to breath deeply, (and again) to focus your mind on total relaxation. If you take the worries and cares of the day into your yoga session you’re doomed before you even begin. The trick is to realize that sometimes you just have to shut the door on the anxieties of life – with you on one side, and them on the other. Every now and again, just shut them out entirely and free yourself from their bondage. When you’re ready to tackle them again, they’ll certainly be there….and you’ll be rested enough to deal with them.
Now, re-read the passage above and think about how each pertains to daily life. Get your mental juices flowing and see what ways you can come up with to bring more discipline, focus, and relaxation into your world.
Make each moment count double,