One of the primary benefits of yoga: awareness. Any yoga practice provides time to quiet the mind and reflect. Pose by pose, we can’t help but notice where we hold tension and where we flow. Where we are grounded and where we have lost our stability. Whatever situations we face in life, awareness is always the first step.
The Yoga Mat is a Metaphor for Life
As a result of daylight saving time, I’ve been waking up at 5:00 a.m. It occurred to me that I could be doing something more productive than trying to fall back to sleep, so I signed up for a 6:00 a.m. yoga class at The Yoga Dive. Yoga is something I’ve always enjoyed, but never pursued with consistency. Practicing yoga first thing in the morning has been inspiring. In an hour, the class includes breathing and postures designed to increase flexibility and balance. The other morning, Lisa Deniz, our instructor, pointed out how the mat is a metaphor for life. Some days, the time on the mat flows with ease. Other days, it’s a struggle.
Flexibility and Balance
Flexibility, both on the mat and in life, has always been easy for me. For better or worse, I’m the first one to adapt to the needs of others, change my schedule on a moment’s notice, accommodate last-minute dinner guests, and do whatever is required to make a situation work. Balance is another story. Traditional poses designed to cultivate balance are kicking my butt. My equilibrium is off. Lisa assures me that practice is the antidote for regaining the balance I’ve lost on the mat, and I’m sure she’s right. But if what happens on the mat reflects life, what do I do about the balance missing in my daily life? My guess is it’s emotional, not physical.
In class, we are told to come back to the breath. In life, we need to remind ourselves to cultivate awareness, to become aware of whatever it is that affects our stability. To observe and identify the people and situations that affect our composure.
Do you really need to flip off the driver who cut you off? Argue with your partner about being late (again)? Complain about anything and everything that isn’t perfect in our world, thinking that bitching and moaning will actually help?
Just for today, I invite you to join me in the yoga practice of awareness and see if your balance doesn’t improve.