How to take your Yoga off your mat

November 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

The lessons we learn on our yoga mats are far more than a routine set of physical postures and breathing techniques. These lessons teach us: about ourselves, how to treat ourselves, how to respond in new ways to that which confronts us, and how to be more present. In effect, these lessons teach us how to live our lives. All that we learn on the mat in yoga class can be infiltrated into every corner of our lives, thereby opening ourselves up to increased health and happiness on a day-to-day basis.

Here are a few ways to live your yoga off your mat:

  • Embrace self-acceptance
  • Just be – observe the beauty in all things
  • Stop struggling and practice acceptance – accept each moment as it is
  • Keep moving through it and remember it will pass
  • Wherever you go offer the gift of a smile, compliment, or encouraging word
  • Accept everything you receive with gratitude
  • Where possible be of service to others…
  • …but not at a disservice to yourself
  • Express your unique talents and share them with others
  • Practice responsible decision making, contemplating (and owning) the consequences of your choices
  • Eat consciously
  • Enjoy every moment that life has to offer (and let go of the outcome)
  • Let go of the need to control – become content with uncertainty, be open to possibilities, and cultivate curiosity
  • Be realistic about the time you have available and rather do less with more zest
  • Know that you’re allowed to say “no” – look after yourself first
  • Practice patience with yourself and others
  • Practice love and kindness to yourself and others
  • Say it with love
  • If you need it, ask for help
  • When you’re struggling to balance, put one foot down
  • Practice courage
  • Remember to breathe

Ode to Spring

August 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Oh, the joys of Spring! The rain retires, the sun streams down and melts the frost, daffodils start springing up, and lambs roam abundant. Ok, to be fair, it is not quite Spring in this part of the world, and in fact today is the first clear-blue-sky sunny day we have had in ages, but while there is a chill in the air I can clearly begin to see Spring dawning. (I also choose to ignore the pessimistic response that says “there will be another few cold snaps yet.”)

What is true is that the bulbs have started blooming and, driving along my beautiful country road, rain or shine, I am currently delighted by the samples of new life in every paddock. I have to be very cautious not to let my eyes wander for in every direction there are very little lambs. Many days I pity them, wanting to wrap their fragile fighting tiny bodies up in cotton wool to protect them from the cold and wet – let’s face it, mommy lambs are not exactly what you’d call maternal.

But for one, my favourite – white mother always accompanied by not one, but two small black lambs. Each time I see them, the little sooty babies are up their patient woolly mother’s metaphorical trouser leg, and the sweetness of them engulfs me. While I have seen black sheep (and have a strong affinity to them) this is my first ever black lamb sighting. To make the set-up that much more enjoyable, there is no black ram to be seen for many, many paddocks around. One has to wonder over the scandal and gossip that must be circulating within those fences!

So, this, my warm-up to Spring, finds me filled with immense joy as I round each bend, enjoying every glimmer of warmth and light and fresh beginnings, feeling energised to turn over my own new leaf and refresh my own life. I am enthused by the tidings of the impending spring air and relaxing summer months.

Making Time

August 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

We live in a society where time is transformed into a very tangible, living thing – we can “borrow time”, “steal time”, “lose time”, and even “save time”. If we are able to in fact manipulate time in all these many and varied ways, we must also be able to, indeed, “make time.”

I am currently discovering how to “make time” in my own life for the things that are important to me. This is a learning process or, rather, an “unlearning” of the examples that were set for me by my parents, my teachers, my colleagues, and the very society I live in. I have been taught inadvertently that those very things that fill me up should be placed last on my “to-do” list, with responsibilities and attending to the needs of others listed as priorities. Is it any wonder, then, that I frequently find myself feeling unsatisfied and, what I like to call, “soul tired”?

The reality is, the items at the end of the “to-do” list seldom get ticked off. My solution: I am playing around with the order of my daily “to-dos”, placing some of the activities that leave me feeling great (physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually) at the start of the day – this way, not only do I have the satisfaction of getting them done (at last), but I have the added bonus of feeling fulfilled from the get go.

Something else I’ve started is setting a metaphorical timer on my list items of so-called responsibility ensuring I don’t reach the end of my day only to find that these tasks have swallowed up my time and my energy.

I am enjoying uncovering the malleability of time, learning to sculpt my days into shapes that best honour my personal needs, allowing me to “make time” for that which fuels and recharges me, and therefore leaves me better able to help those around me, and find success in my responsibilities.

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