Please note that Current of Life was previously published under the title: Living Your Potential
Meatballs and Yoga Don't Mix
My first foray into yoga was about ten years ago when a friend and I decided we would take a class together. It occurred in the early evening, so to get there on time, we would have to dash out of the office and fly up the interstate. After having left the first class feeling ravenous, we became concerned about taking care of our stomachs (nothing new for us) before class. Picture the second week: two hungry women speeding up the highway while engulfing overstuffed meatball sandwiches. In the middle of class, out of the corner of my eye I saw my friend cowering in the corner with a cramp in her side, the lead-like meatballs making their presence known. I tried to keep from laughing and tough it out. Ironically, it was the week the teacher decided to tell us about the yogic lifestyle which included a mostly vegetarian diet and practicing on an empty stomach.
Another time, another friend, another yoga class… This time it was Bikram yoga, a style of yoga that is practiced in a room heated to 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit. There was some trepidation about whether we’d be able to take the heat and then… the teacher apologetically explained that the air conditioner was "stuck on”. We were off the hook for one night.
While I don’t think you’ll see me on the cover of a yoga magazine any time soon, despite my earlier mishaps, over the years I have learned many things from yoga.
The following are four yoga lessons that can be applied to your everyday life.
It is a balance of effort and yield. In yoga, to get into a pose you exert effort. Once you are holding the pose, by relaxing into it, you are able to go further.
Focus on your own progression. Yoga is about challenging your own limits. I also remember an Olympic swimmer and gold medalist who said that when he was in the pool, he focused on his own pace and not the swimmers in the lanes on either side of him.
Consistency of practice is most important. A yoga teacher once told me that practicing for 10 minutes every day could be more beneficial than practicing for 90 minutes once a week.
I have no where else I need to be. One particular evening, it seemed the entire class burst through the door, with backpacks of stress strapped onto them. As the teacher led us in the first few deep breaths, she asked us to say to ourselves, “For the next hour, I have no where else I need to be.” It was a gentle reminder that at least for the next hour, there was no need to dwell on the recent past of our work day. Nor was it necessary to worry about where we needed to go or what we needed to do after class.
This week, choose one of the four lessons above to practice. I especially recommend the mantra “I have no where else I need to be.” You can use this:
When you have rushed to get somewhere and you are finally there
We’ll conclude this week’s issue as most yoga classes conclude, with a bow to each other and the word “Namaste.” Namaste is a word and an Indian gesture used to greet each other or when parting. It also has other interpretations, of which one of my favorites is, “The light in me salutes the light in you.” Namaste.
When beginning yoga, the best approach is to take a class with a professional instructor. Even when you are not a novice, the group experience is beneficial. To support your practice at home, there are many resources available. Here are a few I recommend:
Yoga Journal is an excellent resource. This is a link to an article that discusses the meaning of “namaste”: http://www.yogajournal.com/newtoyoga/822_1.cfm
An Energetic Approach:
My New Favorites (3 DVDs):
© 2007, Virginia M. Kravitz and In the Current®. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to reproduce this article provided it is without any alteration, includes the copyright above, and if distributing electronically includes a link to www.inthecurrent.com.
Return to Current of Life Ezine Index