Just a few weeks ago, northeastern Pennsylvania would have been excited to enjoy weather in the 50's. We were sick of winter, and sick of the cold. After a few blissfully sunny spring days, I've heard a lot of complaints that it got cold again. The 50 degree temp isn't any different, so our view must be the thing that changed. Sometimes all we really need is a fresh perspective. There are a few great ways to mindfully practice this concept on the mat, and you can watch that practice seep into the rest of your life.
- Create more space between your reactions - if you meditate for any amount of time, you will experience some diversion of your attention. Common diversions are thoughts, physical sensations, noises, or emotions. The trick is to recognize these occurances without labeling them. They are not right or wrong, and they happen to everyone. The trick is to expand the space between the distracting experiences, and be comfortable just being. Bring this into your daily life by noticing and expanding the pause before you react.
- Notice something different - like a photographer who works to find just the right angle, a yogi can make each pose a different experience by concentrating on a different sensation. I especially enjoy noticing how subtle core moves expand out to my extremities. Another great option is noticing how changing your breath brings new space into the container of the pose (your body).
- Find a calm reaction during challenge - this one applies to yoga, meditation, and daily life. If you've never faced a challenge, then good for you, maybe you're already enlightened. Find a really cool guru name and gain a large group of followers. The rest of us may like to take time to notice our breath, areas of unnecessary tension, and racing toughts. This may be practiced in handstand and while stuck in traffic.
- Find balance - to quote my favorite passage from the Yoga Sutras, sthira-sukham asanam (stable/steady, happiness, posture). Regardless of the situation, a yogi must strive to find the balance between ease and stability, strength and ease. This is easily applied on and off the yoga mat, and when you find it, it is pure bliss.
The big benefit of yoga or meditation practices are that they can make the rest of our lives so much better. When you truly catch yourself being reactionary, and can bring yourself back to these practices, the reward is a happy, healthier, and more enriched life.
Namaste - Beth