Yoga as a Daily Practice

In my last post I talked about what I anticipated to be my next steps around moving forward with my yoga journey. Today I wanted to share the practical application of what I've learned in the Bodhi Yoga Yoga Teacher Training.

Open yoga manual with rows of highlighters, pens, and glitter pens
Fun pens make studying way more fun!

First, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking if I can't make it to a studio or a gym for an hour or longer class it's not really yoga but that's just not true. Yoga is more than just the sequences put together to create a sun salutation or your favorite flow. When I feel anxious or overwhelmed I will sit in Vparita Karani, or legs up the wall, pose. Sitting like that for even 5 minutes working to slow my breath and close my eyes can be as good as a full nap in restoring me to a better state of balance.

Legs leaning against the wall, feet up by a lightswitch
Legs up the wall is always my jam!

Another thing I love to do is using my breathing to help me get balanced. Sometimes you're at work and popping your legs up the wall might not be a realistic option for you but one thing you can do no matter where you are is to focus on your breath. Sometimes a few rounds of Ujjayi breathing can help me get focused and calm down or even a well placed sigh is lovely. Sighing can help you relax and release tension and sometimes gives you the pause you need before moving forward.

Awaken to your true form: divine creative energy revealing herself as you. Quote by Lorin Roche
Yoga isn't just a physical practice. It's about connecting your mind, body, and soul.

One thing I loved learning in one of the classes from our teacher training was that if you're anxious focus on your exhale and if you're depressed focus on your inhale. It makes sense when you think about it. Being anxious tends to trap your breath at the top of your lungs (think someone hyperventilating) and often getting yourself to fully exhale can pull you out of that anxious hyperventilation and allow you to slow down and re-balance. The opposite with depression would be where you're so deep in your exhale you've collapsed yourself into the bottom of your lungs (think curling up into a tight ball and trying to breathe) where taking a deep inhale can can bring the life giving oxygen you need throughout your body helping to move the energy you need.

The attitude of gratitude is the highest way of living. Quote by Yogi Bhajan
Sometimes when it's hardest to find something to be grateful for I have learned that is when I need it the most.

I think the way I've used yoga the most is in my self awareness and ability to sit in the space of discomfort and assess what my piece is in my current situation. I couldn't say it better than my yoga teacher Syl Carson did in this video. Yoga is truly about yoking mind, body, and soul and gaining a better understanding of yourself and the world around you.

I will continue to use yoga in my daily life to help me continue to be open and to help me find balance when life gets rough. I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to learn all that I have and every time I flip through my manual I realize there is so much more there I can dig into. I know this practice and training will grow with me over time.


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