As a new year fast approaches, I have decided to look at what I call principles from the heart to assist me in this journey of continual discovery and both spiritual, mental and physical growth. Each month I will look at ways that I can improve my well-being, my self-worth and my energy to improve my quality of life. I hope to share snapshots of my life that they may help fellow travelers along the path. Shared knowledge and experiences are a wonderful thing. When we are open to learning, our worlds expand exponentially.
We hear at the New Year’s, all kind of resolutions made. Better health, exercise more, lose weight , eat healthy and so on. While the essence of them are a good thing, they usually originate as a guilty reaction to the overindulgence of the holiday season. Further, within a couple of months, the urgency of resolution flames out and is soon forgotten. I do not think that resolutions are a good thing or bad thing. Perhaps, reframing a resolution is a better way and perhaps, more beneficial. It is in general a desire to improve one’s quality of life. And it is something you strongly desire to undertake. Losing weight is a good example. How about if it is stated as a desire to feel your best both physically and mentally. When I quantify desired results, I feel like I am setting myself up to fail. Rarely has saying I must lose 10 pounds worked for me. But if I say I want to exercise because I enjoy the feeling I get once done, I get a bonus of losing weight as well. For some reason with humans, resolutions have a short shelf life. Gym visits become sporadic, enthusiasm wanes, eating junk kicks in and life just goes on. My hat is off to the determined individuals who stick with their programs.
As most realize by now, I love the practice of yoga. It is fulfilling on so many levels. When I practice, time stops, problems cease, tomorrow is inconsequential, and I begin to comprehend what it truly means to be with your true shelf in the moment. You become tuned in with every fiber of your being, feeling the flow and power of your breath and chi plus the bonus of ceasing the mindless chatter that fills our heads. Time become unimportant, thoughts of “I must remember to take out the garbage, pick up some milk, and do the dishes” disappear. The trivia dissipates giving me a chance to be in touch with my divine nature. It puts me at one with the universe on an elemental level. I am not saying that there are not days where I go through the motions and just pay lip service to the process. My chattering mind wins the battle for my attention and I end up just going through the poses not fully focusing on being in the moment. I am only human some days. After practice, there is a strong sense of being grounded to my environment. It is a surreal feeling with my mind and energy being calm and serene.
Part of becoming educated in the practice of yoga is to become dedicated to the “practice”. The art of gaining an understanding of how it benefits me on so many levels. There are days when I find or invent ways not to practice and just go through the poses mechanically. The quality of my practice on those days is less than stellar. For me, it is about deciding what is most important to me. It is easy to come up with excuses. I have to remind myself that it is just as easy to practice and devote the time and energy to it, as it is to avoid it. When I skip my yoga practice, a strong sense of guilt kicks in and I spend some time browbeating myself. Talk about your classic waste of mental energy. I can be my own worst enemy if I so choose.
Exercise is about awakening the body to what is possible. WE are not meant to be sedentary beings. It is about establishing communication with one’s body and the beginning of the process of understanding what the messages the body is sending you. I use the power of breath to go a little deeper into an asana. I attempt to seek more space in my tight muscles, more flexibility in my joints and more serenity overall. I do not push beyond pain signals. And therein lies the beauty and power of the practice of yoga.
Quality of life is what we choose to make of it. Certain things make life easier, but in the end it is about what each of us does and how we make our choices. These are the determining factors. An abundant life is possible through choice and action. We can just sit on the couch and think things will fall into place and our life will be perfect, but nothing will become of this. WE must put forth effort in improving our lives. One of the choices I am making is to enhance the quality of my yoga practice and be more dedicated to it. My mother, who use to teach yoga, will be smiling down from the universe. She always told me to remember it just “practice” and not “perfection”. All we have to do is keep our bodies and minds moving.
Sometimes it’s about taking actions which might scare us and threaten our comfort zone. I hope to continually develop a sense of fearlessness and spread my wings to soar to new heights. Breaking through boundaries and self-imposed fears allow us to expand our minds and facilitate exponential growth. Trusting in the magical and wonderful processes of the universe allow us to accomplish most anything we desire. Pretty special when you think about it.
Some of moving for me is the process of “writing”. The creative process creates an energy in my brain and expands my soul’s internal vision. In my writing, I try to share secrets I have learned, steps in the process to becoming the most complete person I can be. Mental exercise is as important as physical exercise. they go hand in hand. We must nourish ourselves on many levels. Sometimes, my best words come to me while I am on a walk, hanging out with my three horses, or even cooking. It is truly a zen-like environment that focuses my mental energies and sharpens what I am trying to communicate through my written words.
I believe that the more we get in touch with ourselves, we begin to find our true north and the path we are destined to travel. In a certain sense it is developing that real vision of what we wish our lives to be and who we wish to be. By honoring the divine and embracing who we are with openness and wonder, the time spent here is more than magical, it’s awesome.
See you all next month. Until then, may you find peace and wonder. Namaste!