You roll out your yoga mat, take your seat, and begin your routine before class starts. A routine comprised of stretching, sitting or lying down to mentally prepare, or maybe enjoying some time to chat with your fellow yogis. All is as it should be, yet something seems off. You’re uninspired, going through the motions, not as aware of what you’re doing, feeling low in energy and even contemplating the need to take more breaks.
How long have you been coming to your yoga mat? When you think about your yoga practice, can you remember what brought you to yoga and how you felt during your first class? It’s been over 15 years since I first stepped on my yoga mat and I remember exactly how I felt. Excited and terrified.
The Buddha said, “I am not enlightened, I am merely awake.” What does it mean to be awake? Most of us spend our lives in relative states of “un-consciousness.” Sometimes we undergo a big, dramatic, once-in-a-lifetime awakening—such as a near-death experience—or we can occasionally experience subtler awakenings, such as hearing a story that resonates deep in our beings and creates a shift in consciousness.
Our lives are constantly changing with ebbs and flows of happiness sadness, anger, confusion, and elation. Sometimes it can all seem too overwhelming to handle, so how do we find contentment and stay our course when our lives are full of chaos?
I have been making friends with impermanence. It may sound silly, but after a profound meditation experience, I came face to face with the realization that I am a control freak, and while that control has helped me in some ways, it has also caused me much suffering. I’ve opened up to the reality that everything is in a state of impermanence — the seasons change, each day is different from the previous one, all living things grow, relationships change, the years go by.
At first this was rather scary to me, as it brought up all of my fears of the unknown. I wanted to hide in my usual pattern of planning in order to maintain some power over the future. Then it dawned on me: My life is in a much better place than it used to be, and that is due primarily to the moments over the past few years when I let go and went with the flow.
One of the main goals of a regular yoga practice is to be able to reach Samadhi, a state of deep concentration and meditation resulting in union with a greater reality … a greater universal consciousness. When we are in Savasana, we are working toward this state, feeling the benefits of our asana practice, resting our bodies in order to open up to our breath and release all of the tension and thoughts running through our minds — coming to a place of blissful nothingness.
Several months ago, I began working on the development of some new products. As I began to contemplate a name that would encompass the product line, the words “Affirmative Living” came to me. I was really excited, so I shared the concept with my mastermind group. A couple of the people in the group didn’t understand what the phrase meant and asked me to rethink my concept.
Take a “stress break” with yoga and dance teacher Hemalayaa. She believes that a better quality of breath will translate into a better quality of life. Participate in a short breathing exercise of bringing your awareness to a deeper breath, and see how this can give you a deeper appreciation for being alive. This is a tool you can take with you and integrate into your daily life for rich relationships and a peaceful sense of self.
We are now well into March and it has been more than two months since this year began. A lot of us made resolutions, promises and commitments to ourselves and others regarding shifting consciousness and behaviors.
I have been counseling a number of people who feel challenged with honoring their agreements. The truth is that the behaviors are stronger in the mind than the need to change. So, my question to my clients and to you is, how committed are you to being healthy, vibrant and expansive?