Regular rest is a fundamental part of success, health, and happiness. It helps us exist as human beings rather than "humans doing." Practicing silence, mindfulness, and breathing are three ways to rest that create deep healing, inspire bursts of creativity, and offer clarity.
You and I are human beings. As long as we live and breathe, we are going to experience reactions. We are not practicing yoga to eliminate reactions. We are practicing to weaken or (maybe … one day …) even eliminate the power our reactions have to dictate our responses to life.
Admit it. As funny as the line is, you too have said or wanted to say, "Oh. I wish I could, but I don't want to." We humans just don't always want to do the right thing. This is one of the real-life stumbling blocks that yoga philosophy can help us navigate.
Too often enlightenment is deemed something for barefoot sages on mountaintops. This isn't true. Enlightenment is possible for YOU. All you need is practice so that the next time you snuggle a puppy, or walk in the falling snow, or watch your dad help your mom into the car, you will be so overwhelmed with noticing that noticing is all you are doing. These moments are enlightenment. And each one you notice is enough to inspire a lifetime of practice.
The pandemic has left some feeling awash in time and wandering a bit aimlessly as a result, not getting as much accomplished as expected. Others are scrambling to keep up with seemingly relentless demands on each waking minute - and some minutes when they really ought to be sleeping. (Working and parenting from home? I’m talking to you.) In short, whether you feel time-abundant or time-poor, time is a precious resource that, invested mindfully, can help us live meaningful, happy lives.
Without some type of contemplative practice, when life bites most of us will bite back. Our knee-jerk reaction is to get defensive. We allow the initial, totally natural, wave of feelings to dictate our response to whatever is upsetting us. This doesn’t make us bad people. It makes us human people. In other words, this is simply the way we are hard-wired. Regular contemplation re-wires us.
Instead of thinking in terms of typical resolutions as we welcome this new year, why not consider maintaining a way of living that you may not even realize 2020 taught you? Living with Beginner’s Mind has the power to make every day (even every experience in every day) as brand-new as January 1. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could discover and celebrate the joy, energy, and freedom of being a beginner at this thing called life all year long?
Rather than hopping on a plane or packing up the car, our main mode of travel these days is our sneakers.But my husband and I have maintained our passion for seeing as much of this world of ours as we can. By deciding to approach our little outings as “travel” or “exploration,” that is what they have become. If you, like us, will be staying closer to home this summer, remember that this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your travels. It’s a great big, beautiful world out there – even in your own backyard. Stay curious and keep your eyes open. See as much of it as you can.
The little things in life that make you smile can slip by unnoticed if you're not paying attention. Practicing mindfulness can help. Mindfulness practices such as yoga teach us that, with practice, we can develop the ability to choose our focus, to choose what our mind is thinking or focusing on in any given moment.