suggestions are offered as helpful hints for newcomers to yoga and
as reminders to those who have practiced for awhile. These attitudes
differentiate yoga from simple exercise, they contribute to the development
of a healthy mind as well as a healthy body, and they help to integrate
body, mind and spirit.
to your body. Our bodies speak to us constantly. We
don't listen often enough, and even worse, sometimes when we do listen,
we ignore the message. Sometimes we follow someone else's instruction
when we should be listening to and following our own inner wisdom.
For example, we are bombarded with information from the media that
advises us to take symptom-disguising medicine when we're sick and
to go about our work anyway. Do you follow such advise or do you honor
the wisdom of your body when it calls for rest? A yogi treats the
body with care and respect.
non-judgmental. Become an objective observer of yourself.
Relieve yourself of the burden of determining if you're good enough
or not. Yoga is not competitive. We live in a very competitive
society. We have been conditioned to judge ourselves in terms of many
"norms" and standards of health, youth, beauty and fitness. When comparing
yourself to others, you'll find someone who is more advanced than
you and someone who is less. Simply observe differences without evaluating
them. Learn to appreciate the perfection of being just the way you
are today. As we learn not to judge ourselves, we can do others the
at your own pace. Practice at your own level. Never
force a muscle or joint. Never force the breath. Alertness, steadiness
and comfort are essential qualities to be present when
practicing poses and breathing exercises. Learn to be attentive to,
and respectful of your body's individual abilities and inabilities
on a daily basis. Be patient with yourself. Keep body and mind open to the possibility of transformation.
breath, and mind. Relax the body, deepen the breath, and alert the mind. In many languages "breath" is synonymous with "spirit".
In consciously noticing the harmonious relationship between body, mind, and breath, we develop the ability to make every activity of our lives a meditation.
This requires willingness and practice.
from the outcome. Let your yoga practice be an effort without a goal. Free yourself from our cultural concepts of
needing to achieve something, or becoming someone. "Success"
in yoga is to live in the present moment and to accept what is.
Feel the joy of discovering the self that already exists and is whole
"Be here now."
Stay focused in the present moment and place. Know where your energy
is. Where the mind goes, the energy goes. I remember
the first national energy crisis in the 70's when international politics led to oil embargoes.
We were told that our country could decrease it's energy consumption
by 50% simply by conservation. We can do the same for ourselves by conserving prana, chi,
life force. We waste enormous amounts of energy on our internal
chattering. How much time do you spend replaying past events in your
head? How much time do you spend changing the transcript, as if you
could live it over? How much energy do you put into rehearsing future
events out of fear or worry?
Start noticing these patterns of mind
and save your energy!