Journey to the Center
By Sheila Palmquist E-RYT, RCYT, RPYT Founder & Director, Lincoln Yoga Center
Remember your first lesson on balance? I do. It was on the teeter totter, when someone bigger than me on the other end launched me like a rocket into the air. Only to learn the next time how it feels when someone jumps off the other end and your spine seems to move through your head when you hit the ground.
Sometimes I wish the lessons about balance these days were as direct. Our lives today are so busy. Instead of adding yoga to the list of things “to do”, make it part of what you do. So, how do we incorporate yoga in our daily lives? There are ways that we can sneak yoga practice into our day without even having a mat under our feet. (I believe that the universe is our mat.)
Yoga teaches us how to achieve balance in our lives. Take tree pose for example, practice on carpet, grass, in wind, eyes open, eyes closed, even in water. You must first find internal stability to find physical balance. There are eight limbs of yoga. The physical postures are only one limb. Pranayama (breath control) can be done anywhere, any time. Not breathing efficiently leads to a weak body, foggy mind, and dim spirit. We know what happens when the body is deprived of oxygen, stress increases and the ageing process speeds up among other things. Take deep breaths before you make a big a decision. Each choice you make can take you closer or further from the life you want.
Yoga also addresses how we relate to others and ourselves (yamas/niyamas). Most of us know someone who likes to talk...endlessly. Even if we find what they say informative, we still need a break from the chatter. This is also true for the mind chatter we experience. The good news is, we believe what we tell ourselves. The bad news is, we believe what we tell ourselves. Just as we scan through radio stations or T.V. channels you are in control of what you listen to. Either you build yourself up or tear yourself down. Replaying traumatic events or fixating on negativity effects the mind, body and spirit as if it were happening now. A good rule for the voices in our head is, if you would not say it to your mother, child, spouse, or friend it is not okay to tell yourself.
The first step towards lasting external strength is internal strength. It is important to have the ability to recognize when there is an imbalance and the courage to move from the ego (the story we tell ourselves) into the truth to regain our individual balance. It is about being your best, not better than someone else. Less competition and more compassion, just imagine.......Change is inevitable and necessary for us to grow. It is how we respond to change that helps us maintain equilibrium in our very busy, blessed, and beautiful lives.