You say you do yoga. Hatha Yoga.
The practice of the physical postures. (Ha Tha....Sun and Moon in Sanskrit. HaTha Yoga is all about the rebalancing of solar and lunar energies that exist around us, and inside us.) You come to practice once, maybe twice, a week.
The rest of the week, you are immersed in the ADL’s (activities of daily living) without too much of a thought about yoga, or the associated and underlying teachings of yoga, that your yoga teacher is always ranting about before, during and after class!
Hatha Yoga has a very close relationship with Raja Yoga...the practice of mastery of the mind. This system seeks mastery in LIVING through a refined ability to control the mind, body, senses and breath, and consciousness itself.
Hmmm. Perhaps OHMMMMMMMMMMMMM. Reflection time.
How then to integrate yoga into Daily Life? After all is said and done, yoga is purported to be THE way to a more peaceful and purposeful life. A way to achieve one’s highest potential on this planet while we are here. It is so
NOT about the physical achievement of the ‘party poses!’
Now, before you stop reading and click on something else, PAUSE. Sit still, breathe...and reflect on the above question.
How to begin? Where to begin? How can we live our yoga?
Ganga White – Master Yoga Teacher that he is – has some very good advice for us. Paraphrasing him......(and thanking him!) below....and also, of course, adding my 2 cents worth!
Move. Walk. Climb. Dance. Integrate more physical activity by choosing stairs instead of elevators, parking further away from your destination, and doing a bit of ‘chair yoga’ at your desk if you are confined to a desk during your day. Sit on the floor instead of lying on the couch to watch TV. Or better still, do some leg stretches or quiet low lunges while on the floor.
Maybe even a mini-Bridge Pose.
Watch how you pick up things, and how you carry things. Use your legs, not your back to lift. Be mindful of your body.
Your Body – full of Your Mind.
Be aware of the content of your speech. Your words have the power to hurt or to heal. Each of us is carrying a heavy load.
Breathe deeply..often. Breathe a LOT! Breathe waaaay down into the belly. Abdominal breathing benefits all of the stressed out intestinal area and flushes out substances that are not needed by the body.
Listen carefully to others. Before you respond. Let them finish whatever it was that they were saying. Really, all anyone else wants is to be HEARD.
Actively practice being KIND. This takes some doing. Every one of us is suffering in some way.
Ganga goes on to say...When you do come to class, or when you practice at home on your own (no video, by the way.....as when you practice with a video you are LOOKING at - and FOLLOWING someone else, not yourself) when you approach hatha yoga practice as a personal process of learning, to listen, to work with, and respond to your own inner feedback systems, you become your own teacher. Discoveries unique to your body and to your own special energy are available to you alone. Instead of being a sheep, become a goat!
(Ancient Zen saying!) Explore. Go places you have never been – inside your own body and mind.
Along with the physical, Hatha yoga involves both mental and internal processes of development. As one progresses through the asanas, the inner process takes on more importance and moves the practice to subtler levels – which in turn, yield benefits in many areas of living. We can relate a Hatha yoga practice to Alchemy, a magical process of transmutation of the mundane into the precious, originated in the search for ways to change base metals into gold. Our body IS energy - vibrating energy. A field of dancing energy. Always in motion. At times, out of balance. When breath, body and mind come together, this is truly YOGA....union
It is a long and arduous journey to discover the True Self. But one that is ever so worth it. Remember to enjoy the journey. It is never ending.
A good traveler is one who is not fixated on the destination. Lao Tsu