Most people associate yoga with an asana practice, but yoga isn't just about flowing through a series of poses, twisting yourself up like a pretzel, going upside down and sweating your butt off (although that part can be super fun and highly beneficial both physically and mentally in its own right). What I have come to learn is yoga is most importantly about how you live your life in all contexts.
The word ‘yoga’ signifies any form of connection and that when applied to the human experience, can be used to celebrate the union between the mind, body & spirit. At its most practical level, yoga is a process of becoming more aware of who we really are. As such, yoga is a process of self-discovery. Through its practices, we can still the mind and merge into oneness with the divine; to act with truth and authenticity. We are able to discern who we really are and what our purpose is. Hooked yet?
Over the years, I have had the privilege of witnessing, first-hand, the positive changes the daily combinations of living these lifestyle values and principles along with a daily asana practice. The guests on my many yoga retreats have been my teachers and shown me just how powerful this combination really is when put into practice. Just as it never pays to trade sleep for more down-time, no matter how healthy your diet is, how positive your thoughts are or how many gym sessions you fit into a week, nothing can replace the powerful union found while on the mat or offer you the same state of bliss and wellness in the way time spent in yoga poses can.
Once I realized I wanted to take my yoga practice off the mat and into my day-to-day lifestyle choices, the truest test of my discipline towards reaching freedom and peace in my mind began. Follow these daily lifestyle practices to light your path towards a happier, healthier, more vibrant, stress-free life:
- Wake with the sunrise
- Do a body scan
- Morning breathing exercise
- 10-minute meditation
- A daily affirmation
- Mid-day walking meditation
- Evening gratitude practice