Putting Yoga to Work

ImageThere are times in our life when everything comes to a grinding halt: an event we did not predict happens and we have to set priorities. This week, my mom went into the hospital unexpectedly. This is usually an immediately stressful situation for anyone. How do we begin to manage our stress hormone cortisol level shooting up, quickened breath, stiff shoulders? How do remain calm, centered, and focused when we are faced with a fear-inducing situation? How can we better be there for the person in need without letting our own worries impede wellness? And, how can we not become short tempered with others around us at that time?

This is where the practice on the mat, must be utilized off the mat. To use a much worn yoga phrase: Take your yoga off the mat and into the world. This phrase seems to be getting a bad rap right now as trite, not useful. But, I think it is an apt idea. After all, our yoga philosophy and practice study have practical application in our lives.

The first step when faced with a stressful situation is to notice that it is happening and creating change in our system. So, becoming a witness to the event. If we can take just that one moment pause, it begins to create a little space to assess.

Then, another common yoga axiom: Take a breath. It does give us space for pause, but physically, it begins to calm the system with the longer, deeper exhale. You may need to take five or ten breaths.

Move from a place of gratitude. In looking at the situation, is there something you can be grateful for? In my own situation, my mom did not have to have surgery, they could find nothing seriously wrong, she just needed time to heal. I was thankful for that, though I did not want to see her suffering and unwell. That moment of gratitude allowed me to see that the moment was temporary, and I could better be there to support her with what she needed. She is home now, and recovering nicely. 

The more I practice yoga and gain an understanding of the guiding principals and how to use the tools, the easier it becomes for me to pull out the right tool at the right time. Let me know how yoga has helped you in a time of need.



Sharpening Your Axe

axe-hatchetOnce upon a yogi time, a monk was walking in the woods. He heard huffing and puffing and the sound of chopping: dull and flat as it struck. He came upon a man chopping a tree and asked what he was doing. The man replied that he had to chop down all the trees in the grove to support his family and he was in a hurry and didn’t have time to talk.  The monk suggested he stop and sharpen his axe since it seemed dull. But, the man said he couldn’t take the time to stop, he had to keep working.

So often, our life is like this: when we are the most busy is when we take the least amount of time for ourselves to center, re balance, and move from a better place. This might include a more healthy meal, exercise, yoga, relaxation, massage, or meditation. We are so focused on the task at hand, we neglect to realize we may be jeopardizing our future health and wellness.

So, on this Manic Monday, where can you pause to center your self with a deep breath? Maybe enjoy the lunchtime meal in solitude? Or, honor the person at the end of the dreaded phone call or email first?

Please share with me tips you have for staying in your center.


Originally told by my teacher, Goswami Kriyananda.

5 Minute Yoga Break

So many of us spend a lot of time at the computer with not so perfect posture: slumping back, legs crossed, neck forward. Take a mini yoga break at your desk!
Click the link below for 5 simple postures to alleviate a bit of the tension…..