Travelling got me out of my comfort zone! Life at home can be challenging, no doubt, but going to a different country demands all our your life skills and sense of direction. Not knowing the language, always sleeping in a different uncomfortable bed, and switching up your diet every week (or day) can put your nerves and your mind on edge. The key is seeing the beauty in discomfort…like pigeon pose or camel. It might not be the most comfortable posture, but the benefits are multi-layered and expansive in the body, mind and soul. Sometimes the greatest experiences are just outside of your comfort zone.
Have you heard the term “Yoga Body”? Have you pondered to yourself about what exactly that means. Maybe you didn’t have to think too hard, because your perceptions are swayed by oversaturated images in the media.
Yoga bodies are strong, agile, fit, and slim… Right?
Conveniently, this image of what a yoga body is fits right in with modern social standards of aesthetics.
At the end of every yoga class, the teacher guides students into Savasana (corpse pose) and almost as quick as most people’s head hit their mat, there are some getting up to leave (you know who you are!). What is it about Savasana that makes so many people want to leave before even getting into this pose? Most people don’t even realise it is a pose! Many teachers have said it, and I would agree, it is the most difficult pose to master. Savasana gives your body and mind an opportunity to process what just happened during class. Getting up and leaving before you have a chance to absorb the practice kind of defeats the whole point of showing up.
I have never been one for New Years resolutions, but recently in talking to a friend of mine, she told me that she loves this time of year because it allows her to look back on the year that was and reflect on the year to come. This got me thinking as well. We all go through December wound up and full of stress. Short on time and overindulging. It almost seems inevitable. The coming of a new year sparks a signal in many people that a change is necessary.
I, like many, practice yoga on a fairly regular basis. For me fairly regular means at least 6 classes a week most times more than that. I feel guilty if I miss a day. Recently I took part in a yoga challenge at my home studio and completed 40 classes in 30 continuous days. While that may seem like a lot to some, it seemed fairly average to me. When it was all said and done, my body was telling me something. It was telling me not in a quiet whisper but rather an aggressive yell, “HEY DUMMY, I NEED A REST!”
Today I practiced my yoga in the middle of the trails that run through the Kortright Centre. When I say that I practiced my yoga you might assume a physical asana practice, however I did no asana at all.
Mindfulness is a state of active open attention on the present. It is a focus, without judgement, on your thoughts and feelings at any given time. Recently, I started doing something that seems so small and inconsequential but that has actually had a great influence on my yoga practice.
As I write this, I am sitting in a field at the Wayhome Music and Arts Festival having just finished an asana practice. I have never before practiced my yoga in front of so many people (not including a studio or an event where yoga is why everyone is there).
Living in Canada, the majority of our year is spent inside warm buildings that protect us from the harsh elements Mother Nature throws at us. Now, however, the sun is shining, the warmth has returned and the outside world is calling.
It is next to impossible to get through the day without thousands of distractions bombarding us. Cell phones, computers, televisions, cars, traffic, your job, your family, and on and on and on….. All of the things that make up our day to day make up a small piece of us, and they are leading more and more to the majority of the population holding in massive amounts of stress.