The first thing that happens when you practise yoga is that you reconnect with yourself. Then you go back out into the world and can share this new understanding of yourself with others.
Practising yoga creates a new relationship with your body, mind and spirit. It helps you get to know, and find your way back to, yourself. It also helps you to identify your emotions, feelings and values, and confront your fears and anxieties. It enables you to reach a deeper, more authentic feeling from which to set (new) priorities.
The aim of practising yoga is to lead you deep within yourself and to pry yourself apart so that you can reconstitute yourself in new and truthful ways. As soon as you are released back into the world, practising yoga will allow you to share your being with others in a dignified, respectful and compassionate way.
But this is a process. It follows step by step and without interruption, for as long as you maintain your focus and inner vision.
This process of entering the yoga state is therefore especially appropriate in this time of separation and isolation. And as reality confronts us with the fact that we have no control over external events, we can at least strengthen our ability to control our own thoughts and actions.
Why don’t we use these days and weeks in order to accompany ourselves on an inner journey of self-exploration and self-discovery?
If you already practise yoga and have achieved your own dynamic through daily exercise, you are probably already in the flow.
If not, then it is time to enter that flow!
Set yourself simple goals that are easy to apply and even easier to achieve.
And then you can gradually expand these when you want to.
You are doing this for yourself.
Once again, the foundation is breathing.
Take long, slow, deep breaths. The practice of complete, mindful breathing is the key to opening the inner spaces of insight and re-discovery.
And the advantage of breathing is that we do it all day long!
You don’t have to prepare or arrange anything, go anywhere, etc.
You can simply set aside a little time (and you may currently have much more of this than before) each day to pause and breathe consciously.
It doesn’t matter whether you do it while sitting, standing or lying down… in the bathroom, kitchen, lift or while walking the dog…
Set aside two to three periods each day and take 10 to 20 long, slow and deep breaths.
While maintaining an upright and balanced position, try to stretch and extend your spine. Do this in a completely natural, unforced and, above all, relaxed way. Be gentle with yourself.
You can close your eyes if you like.
In these chosen moments, initially focus on your posture (especially your spine) and the course of your breathing.
Seek to maintain a straight, upright spine while taking long, deep (belly) breaths.
Notice how these simple, day-to-day moments can take you out of your usual headspace.
Feel and discover how much of a positive influence this mindful breathing has on your entire body-mind system.
And if you like it, share it with your neighbours! ;)
Breathe in life.