Every week you go to your yoga class, practice moving your body in ways that you typically never do, you breathe in a way that you haven’t breathed all week. You relax on a level that seemed foreign to you all week long. You walk out of your class relaxed, renewed ad refreshed.
You get into your car heading for your next destination, and Wham; you enter the chaos of the day. Traffic, personal confrontations, Rude people creating Stress and Chaos! What happened to your PRACTICE? What is Practice? We do yoga to get in shape, but on the deeper levels, we practice so that when stress and chaos hit us, we are prepared to use the tools from what we experience in Yoga to help us change how we handle the chaos.
Yoga asanas are a microcosm for our bigger life. When we put our body into an unusual shape we create a mini chaos. If a student is not familiar with a simple leg stretch, the mind reacts as though chaos has disrupted the common language of the body. If one is in a pose holding the position and is asked to take it deeper, chaos is felt unless one moves with one’s breath in a way that keeps them connected to where the limitation is. When a student moves from what is familiar Immediately they hold their breath. When one holds one’s breath, the mind reacts in fear, creating more and more chaos. However, if one breathes then chaos dissolves and an inner knowing emerges. Prana (breath) is the inner energy. Prajna is inner consciousness Prana guides awareness. Awareness dissolves chaos.
Yoga can be a huge tool. Watching your breathing is the key to finding the calm within the storm. Strength, flexibility, and balance are all gifts to be utilized, but the greatest gift is to find the calm in the midst of chaos. If you can remember to breathe rather then holding our breath in the midst of stress and chaos, the outcome within you will be very different. This is one of the many reasons to practice yoga. When you do a posture that confronts not only flexibility and strength but your own sense of what you know to be “normal’ within your “living space,” internal chaos might turn you away from a deeper practice. Deliberate breathing will bring your mind to a calm awareness lending to deeper, more profound observation rather then chaos causing emotional reactions. All of this will begin to translate to the understanding of how to deal with daily stresses and chaos in your bigger life. With these tools, stress will have less and less control on your well-being and happiness and life will be much sweeter feeling, tasting, and smelling.
The next time you are in a posture, notice your reaction, notice chaos, and then notice your breathing. Take the posture a bit deeper and watch how attention to your breath will soften your reaction and shift your relationship to the posture.
When stress and chaos hit you in your life, remember to breathe, quietly watching your reactions and observe the shifting tide as you change your focus with your changing breath.
©shelley piser 2009