Seek out beginner classes for those who want an introduction to yoga poses ”asanas” and philosophy. Yoga will help you to stretch, release tension, activate the joints and muscles. Yoga poses are done in harmony with your breathing, helping to synchronize your nervous system and increase relaxation and balance. Meditation is sometimes infused into the class, guiding the mind toward stillness and bringing calmness into your everyday life.
Meditation is a practice that allows us to experience inner calm and deep relaxation. We learn to become the observer of our thoughts, giving pause to how we can choose to react. Creating space for other possibilities in creating our lives. Meditation helps to move us beyond the mind’s busy activity into deeper peace and increased awareness of ourselves and the world around us. Meditation can be learned in small groups, online or in person, with private instruction or through meditation apps like Calm.
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.
The practice of a simple breath meditation begins 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.
Become the observer of your breath, notice the flow of thoughts that the mind creates, and return to the observation of your breath. The mind in it’s endless capacity to create will pull you back into your thoughts, notice this “aha, that’s a thought” and return to observing your breath. This is the practice.
Suggestions for cultivating mindful, yogic awareness in your everyday life.
It is more powerful to practice yoga or meditation each day for 10–20 minutes than to do two or three one-hour sessions each week. Create a sacred space for your practice: Unplug the phone, turn off the television, light a candle or some incense, and connect to your deepest spiritual self.
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.
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.”
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 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.
Bring your awareness back to your breath, especially in times of stress. Relax your shoulders back and down, relieving stress and tension from the shoulder muscles.