Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hmm: Yoga & Self Awareness | Guest Post

While I was in San Diego for BlogHer, I attended P&G's Life Well Lived. They hosted a yoga session taught by Amy of YogaOne. Class with Amy was a very relaxing session and I'm so glad I attended. 

Amy was kind enough to write a post for my readers on how yoga at any stage or level of the practice impacts more than just your body; it gives you tools to permeate every aspect of your life.

I hope you enjoy this post by Amy and will share your deep thoughts on the topic!



 
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Non-harming (Ahimsa)


Ahimsa is often translated to mean nonviolence in thought, word and action. Another way to view this fundamental yogic concept is that all life is one. Through this vision of connection or sameness, we will become compassionate for all living things.


Yoga teaches self-awareness. This is different than self-consciousness or self-judgement. There is equal part loving kindness and conscious awareness. As we observe the following areas of our life considering the above definition of ahimsa. Employing a playful approach of “Hmmmm, that’s interesting….” will serve us well.


Areas of life to consider

• Livelihood

• Relationships – with our partner, friends, parents, children, etc.

• Diet (i.e. vegetarian or conscientious meat eating? organic or local?)

• Local community

• Global society

Where is there lack of compassion or empathy?


Listen deeply inside within your yoga practice (which can be just a few postures and a moment to breathe deeply). What is your heart’s deepest desire? What would you like to offer to your children? To other living beings?



Postures

Warrior 2 (Virabhadra) - This is a great pose to practice being strong, but without doing harm. Hold only as long as you can breathe smoothly. Notice tendencies such as over-doing by struggling through or quitting as soon as it’s uncomfortable. Practice the dance of riding the edge – working diligently while calmly alert. Two key concepts in all yoga practice are sthira (steady alertness) and sukha (ease). Non-violence does not mean passivity. It means taking right action with compassion, which sometimes takes great strength.

Pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Prep) - Continue practicing connection, presence and letting within the ‘doing’ of things. Begin to notice when you ‘check out’ mentally or emotionally. What do you do when things get uncomfortable? What are your habits? What do you use to ‘jump over’ these moments? Within this pose continue the learning for Warrior 2 - balancing action with letting go. Stay fully aware of the breath – smooth inhale, smooth exhale. Come out when the pose ends naturally, not too soon or too long. Where is the sweet spot of inner listening and connection to self?

Other Daily practices


Watch when you start to push beyond your limits: practice self-love and share this compassion with others.

Monitor screen time (TV, computer, games, etc.) for you and your children. Is this cultivating compassion for self and others or perpetuating a sense of separateness or violence?

For children: Teach them to appreciate and enjoy nature. Take in the beauty all around them. Watch insects with joyful curiosity. If they are in your home, take them outside in a cup and enjoy setting them free.

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Amy Caldwell is a Founder/Instructor at YogaOne. She has dedicated herself to the practice, study and teaching of yoga since 1997.  I am so grateful that Amy, a true expert, took the time to share the benefits of Yoga with my deep thinkers.

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