September 17, 2014.
I have had the privilege of teaching yoga as stress management for many years to all populations, including people with life-threatening diseases. It always amazes me how many excuses I hear for not doing the practices.
To help yourself heal a physical or mental malady vigilance is required. Vigilance is important even if you don’t have to be concerned about a particular health problem. If you are lucky enough to be doing the practices for prevention, I suggest that you allow them to take a strong place in your life so your goal can be achieved.
What do you need to help yourself be whole and complete? The difficult part of any great program is to do it. It is great to hear how everyone else can benefit, but will it really fit into your life?
The best thing is to try it. From my experience the more changes you can make in the beginning, the quicker you will see benefits and the better you will feel. Some of the benefits are subtle; you may not be aware of them at first. However, the advantages of enjoying your regular practice enhance its power greatly. Dive right in while you are inspired. Be bold.
Another way is a little more conservative and might be a bit more comfortable for some. Take on one or two of the practices that seem most likely to bring benefit. Use them diligently for at least a month. After a month begin to add one of the practices or ideas that is less comfortable for you.
For example, you decided to eat a healthy diet and do some of the breathing practices for one month. You feel really well physically, mentally, and emotionally. It may be difficult for you to go out for lunch with your friends now that you eat only healthy food, but you are getting more creative and feeling more comfortable in your own conviction. What would you choose for your next practice? Perhaps take a minute to be still before you eat. I would suggest starting to take that moment of stillness in your own home first. You may feel less self-conscious that way at first. When you feel the benefit, you can then take it out in public. Combining that silence with some deep breaths could be two practices in one!
“But I’m Bored!”
Sometimes we become very childlike when we are asked to do something for our health that is not what we would have chosen to do. Think about where the choices you have made have gotten you healthwise thus far.
Boredom comes when we expect results by a certain time. Natural healing is a slow and steady process; go deeper.
Often I will be asked if something “counts.” “If I do more walking or exercise is it okay to do that instead of the yoga poses?” Exercise is great for health, but it does not take the place of the yoga poses. Do the exercises first and then use the poses to cool down and balance the system.
“If I quietly sit and read the newspaper, isn’t that as good as meditating? That is relaxing for me. I don’t like to meditate.” Deep relaxation comes when both the body and the mind are still and at peace.
You needn’t meditate for long periods of time. At first, stop whatever you are doing for just one moment each hour and be still. Appreciate your heart’s beat, the breath’s tide; allow it to swell into a deep wave of oxygen, and slowly let go of that which you no longer need.
Most of us take ourselves and life too seriously. When viewed from a distance, life can be more lighthearted than when seen close-up. Step back every so often and find the humor in life’s various situations. Smiling is good for physical and mental health and helps us stay lighter. To keep yourself inspired, try to enhance your environment by playing soft, soothing music and go to group yoga classes. Vary and add optional practices that you may particularly enjoy on a regular basis.
By being steady in your practice, you’ll discover so much benefit that you’ll forget the excuses!
❤ The Best Asana: Keep It Simple, an article by Nischala Joy Devi
❤ The Healing Path of Yoga by Nischala Joy Devi
©Photo by Liz Strause