First off, I'd like to ask you a question, what is yoga to you? Whether you practice yoga or have just heard about it, you probably already have an opinion about what it means to you. You may think it's just a physical practice to get into shape or a healing practice that makes you sleep better at night.
Whatever it is, you are right.
There are so many different aspects of yoga, and so many ways to bring it into your life. As mentioned in my previous blog post, 'The 8 Limbs of Yoga', yoga is more than holding a pose, meaning that there's more than 1 way to bring yoga into your daily life.
So how can you bring all the aspects of yoga into your life?
Well, let's start by the yoga that you do on your mat. Yoga can be done in so many locations:
At home (on a DVD or YouTube video)
At a yoga studio
As a private class (can be done at your home or at the instructor's place)
At the gym
Outside in a park
Even at work (where the company brings in an instructor)
You can do yoga pretty much anywhere. The key aspects are to focus not only on the physical poses, but try to incorporate the other 8 limbs into your practice.
Remember: you don't need to be flexible to do yoga, and you don't have to do all the poses perfectly, you just have to try. And if you feel any pain in a pose, remember that you can ease out of the pose a bit.
Now how do you bring yoga into your life, off the mat? You simply work on mindfulness by building small habits throughout your day. Some tips include:
For Sitting - try not to sit still for too long, do a few stretches every 1hr - 1/2hr. When doing this, remember to move with your breath - inhale lengthening your spine and exhale folding or twisting. Also be mindful of your posture, try not to slouch too much.
For Driving - we all know how fun 'rush hour' traffic is, so try to instead be mindful of your thoughts and emotional state while driving and if you feel stressed out, take a few deep inhales and slow exhales to calm the mind.
For Cooking - be mindful of the way your body and breathe move while cooking. If you can take a moment, try closing your eyes and noticing the smells and sounds around you.
For Sleeping - many of us have a hard time sleeping, but I find that doing a few key poses before bed (like pigeon pose, child pose, legs up the wall etc.) can really help, along with not to indulging yourself with electronics/social media/e-mails. I usually find that doing some light reading helps me fall asleep, but you can also meditate or do something that helps to calm and relax your mind.
It's also very important to take care of your body by eating healthy foods and making sure you drink enough water throughout the day.
In conclusion, whether you do yoga on the mat or off, remember that you can make the choice to be more mindful throughout your day and throughout your practice.
I hope you have a wonderful week, and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask!