These days and in many places around the world, there’s a lot of pressure for you to ‘work hard, play hard’ and achieve both while looking and feeling healthy, fit and wonderful… all of the time! When you finally find time in this busy lifestyle to practice yoga, meditation or do other kinds of exercise for your mind and body, do you ask yourself why you’re actually doing any of this?
Do you serve yoga or does yoga serve you?
Here’s an example:
You get up early to have a quick shower and breakfast. You run to the station and catch your bus – just in time! When you get to work, you see all the papers on your desk and take a deep breath. Your sarcastic colleague comments ‘well someone is happy!’ Now you try to compensate by being as kind and fun as possible. You rushed your lunch because a meeting went on too long which meant you worked overtime and had no time to do your English homework. You have an extra coffee because you’re tired. 5pm finally comes and your manager wants to talk to you, so you end up rushing to your weekly yoga class.
When you arrive at the yoga studio, you realise you left your mat at work. You are panicking about getting into trouble with your English teacher, because you have not handed in your task. So you start the practice annoyed with your job, disappointed in yourself, and frustrated with how unfair the day was.
You sit down in a meditation pose, listening to your teacher. Every time thoughts come into your mind, you lose track of their instructions. You can’t connect your body and mind to the present moment. You don’t realise you’ve brought your bad day with you to the mat.
Do you realise that now your stomach is sore with hunger? Are you aware that now your shoulders are right up by your ears and that’s why your neck will be stiff in the morning? Do you notice, even in a meditation pose, your forehead is creased, and that’s why your classmate asks if you are upset?
Dena Jackson (0) believes yoga gives you a set of tools which you develop during your practices but apply directly to the rest of your life. The techniques of yoga and meditation help prepare us for challenges in other areas of life. It creates a calm foundation inside us that causes us to react to difficulty with more peace and positivity. She also says that we cannot look after other people until we look after ourselves.
Who or what are you practising for?
Are you practising because other people talk about yoga and meditation? Because you already paid for this class? Or because yoga looks pretty on Instagram?
Are you conscious in your practices or are you passive during them? Can you learn, through yoga and meditation, to create peace inside yourself that you can always access, no matter what is happening outside?
Before you can expect any results, you need to really look inside yourself to find out why you are here and why you want to practise yoga. What attracts you to practising yoga? Do you see yoga as a workout or are you here to have an experience?
Today, look inside your own mind, and tap into your emotional and physical body.
Ask yourself: What do I need? How can yoga serve me? How will yoga help me be the best version of myself?
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