“The root of all health is in the brain. The trunk of it is in emotion. The branches and leaves are the body. The flower of health blooms when all parts work together.” ~Kurdish Saying
“People with handicaps teach me that being is more important than doing, the heart is more important than the mind, and caring together is better than caring alone.” — Henri Nouwen
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/henri_nouwen.html
There is one thing in this world I know for sure. We each create our own reality with our thoughts. Unfortunately much of what we create is not real — it is simply an illusion.
One of the biggest illusions I seem to like to create is that outside forces have power over me. Anyone else like to create that one? The great nebulous “they” made me do it, or did it to me. What really happens in these instances is that I do it to myself.
You see it’s not what others do or how they live that causes me problems, it’s how I react to it. I always have a choice. Unfortunately I occasionally still chose to live on adrenaline and it doesn’t take much to get that going. Bob being sick, a friend needing a lot of time and attention, going overboard with physical exercise can be all it takes to set off what I call an adrenaline storm. As I am getting older and as I have been getting these under control “falling off the wagon” has become harder. At the least, there is one heck of a “hangover.” Just as with a storm related to weather whether it be rain, wind, snow, there is often clean-up that has to occur after the storm has passed, there is always clean-up to do and often consequences to live with when we create a reality that is out of balance and does not work.
So what do we do? Do we give up and just “accept” our flawed reality as just the way life is? Or do we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, be patient with ourselves, learn something from the experience and recommit to our spiritual practice? The choice is mine. The choice is yours.
“You are never more fully yourself than when you are still inside.” — Eckhart Tolle
“All the world is an utterance of the Almighty. Its countless beauties, its exquisite adaptations, all speak to you of Him.” –Phillips Brooks, clergyman and author
Most of us could use a little help living in the present moment, couldn’t we? We spend much of our time planning, re-planning, and evaluating what we have done, moving back and forth between the past and the future. We forget that life is now and this is the time to live it. This is why I have chosen mindfulness as my first benefit of yoga.
Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way. On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” So how does yoga help us do this?
By pairing our body movements with our breath, with our focus on our breath and body sensations arising as we practice, we train ourselves to stay present in the moment. This is not always as easy as it sounds when we are on the mat and our burning thighs, tight hamstrings and the blood rushing to our head as we are in downward facing dog are screaming for our attention. And this is of course the day the teacher decides to do long holds. But these are the perfect times to practice mindfulness, continuing to bring our attention back to the breath whenever it starts to wander.
There are teachers who combine their training in Buddhist mindfulness meditation with yoga with a special focus on mindfulness. This is of course helpful, but you can begin on your own by focusing on the breath as you move through the yoga poses.
Mindfulness is something that is learned. Yoga is one way we can learn it. So next time you go to the yoga mat leave the busyness of your day and the to-do list for later behind. Breathe. Move with breath. Focus on the breath and any body sensations that arise. It can take time for mindfulness to become a natural part of life, but start on the yoga mat and you are on your way.