And So We Begin....

Instructions for living a life. 
Pay attention. 
Be astonished. 

Tell about it.
-Mary Oliver

One of the many, many benefits of yoga is bringing us back to the present moment. No matter how many times we need to be re-minded to return to this moment, then this one, and this one...and on & on....our minds will wander off to ruminate over the past or try to predict the future.

One of the ways we learn to stay in the present moment, however briefly, is to turn our attention to our breath. Each inhale and each exhale serves as a gentle nudge to focus on now.

At the beginning of each class, I spend a little extra time getting the students centered and grounded. I ask them to close their eyes, turn inward, & follow the rise and fall of their breath. Without fail, the energy in the room starts to shift to something a little softer, a little more gentle and serene, than when class began.

That simple shift in awareness, which is available to you at any point during your day, btw... ;)
is all you need to activate the parasympathetic nervous system , which restores the body to a calmer state. In today's world, most of us are in a chronic state of stress, which means that our sympathetic nervous system is running on auto-pilot. The sympathetic system (also known as "fight of flight") is designed to help us when we are in distress or we encounter a life threatening situation. Most of us live in this state of "high alert" on a daily basis, and this chronic stress has resulted in the increase of dis-ease & illness.

Incorporating healthy habits such as yoga and meditation help to alleviate some of that stress. Regular yoga practice benefits your mind, body, and spirit. If yoga or meditation don't light you up, that's okay! There are plenty of other options and finding the ones that resonate with you can be fun. Just try a few and see what feels good. 

Some ideas:

  • spending time in nature (beach, woods, mountains...)
  • walking your dog
  • taking a bubble bath
  • gardening
  • baking
  • coloring, drawing
  • knitting, crocheting

Share some of your favorites in the comments below.