Bring Your Yoga to Life: Live Your Yoga!
The practice of yoga is a wonderful thing for many reasons. Yoga offers it’s practitioners physical, mental and cognitive benefits. Your yoga mat becomes your sanctuary. A safe haven for your mind, body and spirit to be freely expressed and explored. Yet, for many, their yogic practices and all the life tools yoga provides, gets rolled up into their mat and stored away until they create time to practice once again. However, this does not have to be the case! Instead, we invite you to live your yoga. Bringing it off the mat, and into your every day life!
The beauty of yoga is that can be performed anywhere, at any time, in any circumstance. All of the centering exercises, breathing techniques, meditation methods that you look forward to while on your mat DO NOT have to stay on the mat. This is especially important during times of extreme stress and tension. The past few weeks have been filled with destruction and violence. These are the times when it is most important for us to take a moment to stop and breathe.
Cultivate Calm and Presence
Unfortunately, the times that need your yoga practice the most, you may not have access to your ‘safety mat’. Times challenge your ego, your sense of Self, your faith, anything that may bring you unease. The good news is: you don’t need a yoga mat to do yoga and create peace! Channel your inner yogi and live your yoga at that moment in which you may be feeling those anxieties. It can be as simple as checking in with yourself by conducting a total body scan becoming aware of areas that hold tension, or performing the three-part breathing technique, anything that brings you into the present and clears the mind. Once you have cultivated a sense of internal calm, you will be able to more effectively react to what is causing such turmoil at that specific time.
Love and Kindness Meditation
During times of stress, struggle or anger, it is best to bring awareness to those emotions and observe them as they are. Here is a meditation practice that may assist in the coping of a unpleasant feeling or situation you find yourself experiencing. Try this meditation in the morning soon after you wake to bring clarity to your day, or practice it at night to bring peace and serenity to your evening.
- Begin with yourself. Calm the mind/heart and find the center of your being. Generate warm, gentle, loving feelings for yourself:
May I be safe from harm.
May I be happy just as I am.
May I be peaceful with whatever is happening.
May I be healthy and strong.
May I care for myself in this ever-changing world graciously, joyously.
- From yourself, move out spaciously into your immediate surroundings. Include every living being within this circle:
May all beings in the air, on land, and in the water be safe, happy, healthy, and free from suffering.
- Stay within your reach. As you feel your immediate surround fill with the power of loving kindness, move on, expanding the surround in concentric circles until you envelop the entire planet.
- Expand your loving kindness until you are able to visualize Earth, spinning within the vast, mysterious universe. If you like, continue expanding the sense of your loving kindness, filling the endless emptiness of the universe:
May all living beings everywhere, on all planes of existence, known and unknown, be happy, be peaceful, be free from suffering.
In these times of environmental unrest, political unease and global instability, and senseless violence, it is easy to fall into the mindset of fear and anxiety, or guilt in the sense you are not doing enough.
Remember, yoga starts with you, and what you receive in yoga you project to those around you. If you can live your yoga, and be the peaceful beacon for those who surround you, you may begin to see subtle changes for the better.
Live. Your. Yoga.