5 ways to bring yoga into your life
Greetings Beautiful Souls!
Taking yoga off the mat, out the studio and into your life is something that I am passionate about!
Bringing yoga into your daily life doesn’t have to be difficult, in fact it should be a pleasure… something you look forward to! Sivananda yoga suggests these 5 simple guidelines to follow for a yogic lifestyle.
Obviously as a yogi I’m going to say that you should do yoga everyday. But as a realist I know that yoga doesn’t appeal to everyone so find something that you love and do that. If yoga is your excercise of choice do it everyday, get into the habit of doing yoga outside of the studio. A simple 15 minute sequence everyday will make the world of difference to your health and well being.
Whatever excercise you choose make sure that it is non-aggressive – swimming, hiking, running some form of group excercise, whatever you choose make sure you enjoy it. The more you enjoy it the more likely you are to continue with your practice.
Did you know that in normal everyday breathing you use only 30% of your lungs? Learning to breathe consciously can have a profound effect on your stress levels and health.
It’s no coincidence that the first thing anyone says when you’re upset is ‘just breathe’ we naturally and instinctively know that the breath can be healing if we learn how to use it. In our yoga practice we learn to breathe consciously, with intention. This not only brings you to the present moment but it is also beneficial to your lung function. Pranayama or breathing excercises are a vital part of a yogic lifestyle.
Try this simple pranayama
Sit comfortably with a straight spine. Inhale through your nose for the count of three, then exhale through your nose for the count of three. Continue with these deep even conscious breaths until you feel relaxed and focuessd. This excercise tcan be done anywhere, in traffic, at your desk at work or in a queue at the grocery store!
3. Proper diet
We eat for prana – life giving energy – prana originates from the sun. Yogis believe that the closer to the sun your food is the more prana it contains.
For example if you grow lettuce, pick it and eat it immediately that is the most prana it could contain. If you buy lettuce from the store it was probably picked a few days/weeks prior, it may have been sprayed with some kind of preservative to maintain freshness and then it spends at least a few days on the shelf and maybe a few more in your refrigerator. By the time you eat it the prana is hugely reduced. Similarly when you eat meat the animals eat grass/grain, the grain/grass gets prana from the sun, the animals get prana from the grass /grain and you get what’s left from the meat. There is therefore very little prana in meat.
It’s a simple way of thinking about the food that you eat.
This is a biggie! In today’s society we have an epidemic of the glorification of BUSY-Ness. Relaxation is seen as failure. The more you work the better you are. The more you multi-task, stress and work the more success you will have.
Don’t believe it – relaxation, deep intense relaxation such as you get at the end of a yoga class is vital for the restoration of body and mind. It is imperative to schedule some relaxation without screen time every single day.
There are some very simple relaxation techniques that you can use on yourself. The most effective and simplest is to use auto suggestion.
Lying on your back with your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart and your arms away from your body palms facing upwards, begin at your feet and say silently to yourself, I relax my feet, I relax my feet, my feet are relaxed. I relax my calves and thighs, I relax my calves and thighs, my calves and thighs are relaxed. Continue with every body part until you reach your face and then end with. I relax my entire body, I relax my entire body, my entire body is relaxed.
It’s a simple technique but really effective.
So many of us are in the habit of looking for the negative and we need to re-train our minds to look for the ubiquitous silver lining. It’s there, it really is, you just need to look for it.
Meditation comes in many forms and the trick is to keep trying until you find one that suits you. It doesn’t have to be sitting in lotus position for hours on end chanting OM! Do some research and find a meditation technique that works for you. I love to meditate with mantras. I find I’m able to focus my mind more easily when repeating a mantra.
Science is beginning to study and present articles such as this one by Harvard proving the effectiveness of meditation on the brain. Give it a go, don’t dismiss meditation simply because the one you’ve tried hasn’t appealed to you. Keep looking until you fid a meditation technique that speaks to you.
And there you have it, some simple guidelines to incorporate yogic practice into your daily life.
Have a beautiful day!