How We're Stretching
The essence of yoga is cultivating an inner state of body-centered awareness that allows us to walk calmly amongst the chaos. Yoga teaches us both to let go and to have exquisite awareness in every moment. We become aware of our breath, its ebb and flow, and we learn how to move with grace.
Over time, yoga becomes something we live, not just something we “practice.” The inevitable pressures of life have less of an impact on us as we respond in a more conscious manner. We bring union and harmony to every encounter, whether it’s a random meeting on the street, a talk with our child, or a family reunion.
When our inner world begins to change, our outer world shifts to reflect our new perspective. It starts by focusing on the breath, noticing when your attention has drifted away, and returning once again to the inflow and outflow of the breath, to awareness of the present moment.
Here are a few suggestions for cultivating mindful, yogic awareness in your everyday life:
Daily Practice. It is more powerful to practice yoga each day for 10–20 minutes than to do two or three one-hour sessions each week. Create a sacred space for your yoga practice: Unplug the phone, turn off the television, light a candle or some incense, and connect to your deepest spiritual self.
Meditate. Meditation and yoga are two complementary practices with the same purpose: to experience the union of body, mind, and spirit and access the peace of pure awareness. Learn more about meditation here
Honor the Divine Within. As you meet people in your daily life, whether they are old friends or new acquaintances, gaze into their eyes and silently wish them Namasté, a Sanskrit word that means “I honor the divinity within.” Learn more about the word Namasté here.
On the Road. Keep your tongue at fire point (the spot on the roof of your mouth just between your two upper front teeth) to keep your jaw relaxed. Before you start the car, give your body a good stretch to each side and set your intention for a peaceful, safe journey.
As you drive, relax your grip on the steering wheel. Be aware of situations that cause you to become frustrated, and return your awareness to your breathing.
At Work. At least once every hour, get up from your desk and take a brief stroll. Just go up and down the hall, or if you can, go outside and get some fresh air and sunshine.
Breathe! Bring your awareness back to your breath, especially in times of stress. Relax your shoulders back and down, relieving stress and tension from the trapezius muscles.
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