You’re not alone in this constant swirl of chaos. We are all searching for a breath of air, a moment of stillness, an opportunity to exhale and recharge. Life’s ability to take your ideal of perfection, turn it upside down and shake the hell out of it can have you turning for the exits. Whether your slow yourself down by engaging in exercise, reading a book, watching T.V. or just vegging out, you’re doing yourself a huge favor. If you can do this mindfully, the benefits of taking a time-out will persist for much longer than the activity itself.
I first discovered yoga in high school after my mom dragged me to yet another activity I had zero interest in attending. This was also true of a Don Henley concert, which in hindsight, I feel embarrassed to even admit this in writing. Fast forward 12 years and my yoga practice ebbs and flows with the changing seasons, albeit remains a staple in my life.
I’m competitive like most would consider themselves, I relish in the opportunity to “win” whether it is at work, on a court, in a discussion or anything else in which a party can be deemed “right” or “wrong”. For background, I was voted most stubborn of my graduating class, a badge, for unknown reasons, I choose to still wear with honor.
Yoga is different, though. It’s not about you versus the yogi on the mat next to you. It’s not even about how great you can excel on an individual basis. It’s about taking a moment to step out of your chaotic life, step onto your mat and find something that makes you feel good.
Sometimes that thing for me isn’t mental, sometimes it is physical. The varying practices of yoga offer a yogi anything they can dream up. Classes can be physically challenging, focused on breath work, relaxing or meditative, or a blend of all. Experimentation on your mat is as rewarding as exploring a new hike, or finding a new book. Being open to the possibilities of letting yourself surrender in mind and body have allowed me to feel better about myself emotionally and physically.
I’ve always enjoyed how yoga is labeled a practice. Each time you step onto your mat allowing yourself a reflective moment, be reminded that you are there to practice for life’s chaos.
I’ll end with my favorite sanskrit word, Upaguru, meaning “the teacher is near”. Take each moment with a light step, a deep breath and smile.