After a few years of sporadic yoga practice, I found myself reflecting more and more on some of its core values: Mindfully move with purpose; Find your edge; Remember to breathe. Committing to my yoga practice in 2008 marked the start of my exploration of these goals off the mat.
Time seems to slow down when I enter the yoga studio, and yet my practice somehow adds more hours to my day. Designating time to focus on myself has made me more conscious of using time wisely throughout the rest of my day. As in practice, I focus on the tasks at hand, be it making my lists of Things to Do or actually doing them.
Living in Washington, DC, does not easily lend itself to a stress-free lifestyle. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the number of stimuli surrounding us on a daily basis: family and colleagues, sirens and car horns, cell phones and ipods. Yoga keeps me in check by pushing me to my edge but no further. My To Do Lists may grow and evolve, but they never disappear. So, I focus on what I can and have accomplished and reward myself with a break as needed.
Taking a break is hard to do in this busy city. Many people I’ve encountered delay or skip them all together. When I feel overwhelmed or worn out, though, focusing on just a few deep breaths provides that calm renewal and energy I need to continue. Tuning out outside pressures to focus on an inhale and exhale alleviates the stress and reconnects me to the moment.
As this first month of 2009 comes to a close, we face several global and domestic challenges. Calling for a new era of responsibility, our new president assures us that we will meet them. Following these yogic principles — live actively; work hard; and take time for yourself — I’m hopeful that we will do just that.
How do you incorporate your yoga practice into your daily life?
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