Today, June 21st, has been declared World Yoga Day by the United Nations.
As I've posted earlier, yoga is a wonderful exercise regime to do any time, at any age, and pretty much, anywhere. All you need is a peaceful environment, comfortable clothing and a mat.
Even if you've never done yoga before, don't let that dissuade you from trying it. It is called a yoga practice because even experienced yogis can find more to discover about the limitations (or lack thereof) of their bodies and spirit, and each day can bring a new serenity that you carry forward into your life.
Yoga is thousands of years old and comprises 8 distinct limbs or paths that should serve as a blueprint for self-discovery.
The 8 limbs are:
These are moral principles that provide the foundation for living a conscientious life, from one's relationship to others to one's relationship with the self.
These are observances and practices that the yogi employees to refine the relationship with one's internal world.
Asana is the physical postures that a yogi practices on order to create steadiness and ease in the body and mind.
Prana means breath and life force. This encompasses the practice of regulating, extending and restraining one's breath in order to affect the flow of vital life force in your being.
The practice of turnings one's senses (touch, taste, sight, sound and smell) inward.
The practice of concentration and meditation.
This occurs when repeated efforts to focus and meditate becomes an effortless flow.
The absorption in the experience of supreme consciousness. This generally results after extended, sincere and consistent practice with all the other limbs.
Yoga is truly an all-encompassing discipline that can positively affect every aspect of your life. It can be as empowering as anything you'll ever do for yourself which no doubt is why it has reached such global popularity. I have never felt as blissful as after completely a difficult yoga class.
If I could suggest a few things to keep in mind when practising yoga they would be;
Start small - don't expect to be able to master each and every pose you attempt the first time or even thousandth time. Yoga is not a race nor a competition. As long as you feel better - both physically and spiritually - it has been a successful practice session.
Take a class - you can certainly do yoga at home, on the beach or anywhere you please but in a classroom setting you may find new ideas and series that you can take with you on your journey. You don't have to commit to a costly membership either; most studios offer drop-in prices and you can try as many different ones until you find the setting and instructor that serves you best.
Clear your mind - Let go of the stress and problems that are part of modern life and simply be in the moment. This is easier said that done but to enjoy the rewards you must try to let everything go and you can pick up your worries when you are finished, or not.
World Yoga Day is a wonderful opportunity to try this unique practice that can have so many positive effects on your life including building strength, agility and flexibility, boosting your confidence and creativity, releasing tension, restoring your peace of mind and opening your heart. How delightful does that sound to you?
There are many social media accounts devoted to yoga. One of my favourites is Rachel Brathen of Yoga Girl. If you don't follow her already, I highly encourage you to do so. Each and every post of hers is a tiny reminder of how happiness and acceptance are yours, if only you let them in. Her book is also a joy.
I've come to terms with the fact that I'm broken. Not in a sad way, just in an it-is-what-it-is kind of way. Life happened and I've adjusted accordingly. We're all a little bit shattered. Pain and heartache comes our way and with time we develop patterns that we think will protect us... But that only keep us in fear. There are traits in me that aren't necessarily a part of who I am, but that surface as a result of what I've seen in this lifetime. For instance: I have a huge fear of abandonment. Since my parents separation when I was two, my stepfather's death when I was four, my mothers suicide attempts that followed and every divorce, trauma and death I've experienced since.. Sometimes makes me act a bit strange in relationships. I have to be continuously mindful of what's real and what's fear. I'm scared of being left out. I'm controlling - I want things to happen my way, and I often assume things are going to go wrong if I'm not in charge. I micromanage everything. I expect people to fail me, or disappoint me, or leave me... So they often do. It's instilled in me since I was a little girl that "if I don't do it on my own we're not going to survive" and I can be assertive to the point of coming off as bitchy. I don't trust easily, and I don't give second chances. I'm messy. I'm emotional. I love hard and get upset about little things. I take everything personally. I want to fix everyone, even if they're not broken. I want the world to be whole because that means I am. So much of what how I feel and act is connected to the past. Part of my journey is figuring out what is truly a part of me, what brings my light out into the world, and what's baggage masquerading as personality. What's action, and what's reaction? Am I moving with love or with fear? The only way to make peace with who you are is to make peace with your past. Explore your childhood. Your history. It brought you here and it made you who you are; but is this you at your fullest potential? Do you see love in everything? Is this your purpose? Ask questions. Notice the signs. Peel some layers off. Keep looking for love and when you're ready it will show itself as everything you already are.
Namaste beautiful people. Namaste.