While we have already discussed Yoga in the light of different contexts throughout previous blogs, this time we would like to bring in a more holistic approach to how you can live a more holistic life by complementing your practice with other aspects other than just the asanas you perform on your mat.
It probably is not the first you hear the phrase "yoga is more than asana." You will notice that the more you practice yoga, the more your cravings gravitate towards healthier, usually vegan or vegetarian, and "cleaner" food. This tends to happen naturally! Also, because of the way in which you gain awareness of your mind-body-soul connection while you are on your mat, you begin to notice it throughout the rest of your day (your time off the mat), and as you transform your inner world, you begin to notice how the way you perceive the external world to transform along. "Be the change you want to see in the world,"said Mahatma Gandhi. There is a deep wisdom in this, based also on the universal law of resonance: as above so below; the fascinating microcosm of your being is attuned to the great macrocosm of this universe! And by changing your frequency and raising your vibration, you by definition start to become attuned with frequencies and vibrations that match yours.
If we were to start talking about the other things about yoga which are not asana, we would come to talk about the eight limbs of yoga as brought forth by Patanjali (yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi). Throughout these series of blogs we share with you, we will regularly return to some of these elements in particular. For now, we want to talk about other things you can do in your life - and yet you will find that, in one way or another, they link back to the eight limbs of yoga.
So, what are some of the ways in which you can complement your practice?
- Eat a healthy diet - explore Ayurveda, becoming familiar with your most prominent doshas, and adapting your diet so that you assume a diet and lifestyle that provide you with that which is most beneficial for your typology
- Sleep enough - and be mindful to honour the natural rhythms of the day - daylight is essential for our wellbeing (hence the commonly known "winter blues" due to the lack of it), and artificial lightning does not provide the same benefits. So try to be active during the day, and once it gets dark, slow down a bit and begin to unwind for your night - you will be so much more energized the next day!
- If you tend to rush through things, slow down! This will help you to cultivate mindfulness, and embracing the beauty of the present moment
- Be truly present with whatever you are doing. As much as there is the myth of multitasking being a talent mostly women have, really it is not really bringing benefits to our emotional and spiritual wellbeing, as it brings us away from the present moment. It's a classic one but for example - whenever you are interacting with anyone - whether it is a family member, a colleague, a friend, your partner, the bus driver, or someone at the store: be FULLY present with that interaction instead of nodding your head without actually looking at them while being on your phone. As busy as you might think you are, you really CAN afford the minute or two to acknowledge the interaction, and it will serve you both.
- Find little moments throughout your day when you can practice some yoga techniques. For example, if you are waiting for someone and they are late, instead of impatiently huffing and puffing, and looking at your phone, just sit and do a mini meditation, or some deep breathing, or chant your favourite mantra internally! Every moment is a gift, and never wasted.
- Be mindful of what you consume in general, besides food and drink, what we listen to (music, discourses) and watch (series, films, documentaries) influences us, so it's really a good idea to be selective about what we watch and listen to. Listen to things which are uplifting, inspiring, beautiful, profound, transcendental...basically anything which elevates your consciousness. Use your intuition ;)
- Not getting on your yoga mat one day does not make you a "bad yogi." Yes, discipline is great, but if there is a day you don't get on your mat, practice loving kindness with yourself and find the yoga (path of union) in other things throughout your day. You can move meditatively through your day, breathing deeo, being present, being kind, being truthful - and that is too, yoga!
- Be creative, if you can think of other ways, try them out! And share them with us on our FB page (you can leave a comment there) - we would love to hear from you!
Hoping you are all having a wonderful spring, and may your days be full of light - celebrating the joy of being, and all the ways in which we can embrace and practice the art of holistic living!
Aldona from saktiisha yoga centre