Last week I talked about how yoga is a metaphor for life and what I learned from the Baptiste yoga retreat I recently completed. As I continue to reflect, I’ve been struck with a few more revelations about what yoga, in general, has taught me about life.
Whether you have practiced yoga or not, I think these concepts are helpful for just about everyone. What I have noticed is that some of the methods for deepening a yoga practice are rather synonymous with going deeper within our lives and ourselves.
3 Yoga Practices To Implement In Life
It’s the source of life and how easy it is to let our breath become something that automatically runs in the background. When we really connect to our breath it can be extremely helpful for concentration, stress relief and centering.
In the Baptiste training we did a practice for two straight hours where all we did was focus on our breath, four breaths in and four breaths out, to the beat of a metronome. It sounds easy, right? Well it was one of the most challenging practices of my life. I never realized how easily I forget to breathe in life and yoga.
Bringing awareness to our breath has so many transformational qualities. In yoga it is called Ujjayi breath, which in English means “to become victorious” or “to gain mastery.” I’ve noticed more energy, clearer thinking, less distraction, release of tension and even a clearing of negative thoughts or energy by practicing breathing more often throughout the day.
Give it a try. Sit in a quite place for a few minutes and just bring awareness to your breath. Counting four seconds on the inhale and four seconds on the exhale. Repeat this for a couple minutes and notice how you become more balanced, more energized and centered.
In yoga this is called Drishti or a place to look. Let me tell you what, when you focus your eyes on an object or particular place in your surroundings during a yoga practice and don’t take your gaze off of it, the heat your body builds around this is incredible. I never realized how much I close my eyes and was not implementing something seemingly so subtle. Not to mention, I was in for a very rude awakening at the impact this would have in my yoga practice.
It got me thinking about the profound affect a determined focus can have in life. We’ve all heard the term “eye on the prize,” but how easily we become distracted with the waves of life. With everything going on around us with work, social media, news, emotions, our family and friends and the things life throws at us, it is so easy to loose focus. After having realized how important drishti truly is in yoga, I can’t help but draw a real parallel to our drishti in life.
Knowing what you want, standing for that which you are a YES for and following the path that leads in the straightest way to your goals is imperative for success. Just as in yoga, if you set your sights on something and don’t take your attention, focus or gaze away from it, it will build a fire inside of you that you never even knew was possible. Get clear on your focal point and then don’t let anything break your stare.
In yoga, flowing with your ujjayi and drishti creates a sacred place for the body to melt away toxins, stress and to bend and shape into places beyond comfort zones. When you’re in the flow during a practice, your entire body is vibing with a natural energy that I guarantee is better than any high, and trust me I’ve experienced many. The flow is what keeps people coming back for more.
For anyone that knows me, you know I love me some rhythm. When I’m in the flow of a rhythm, be it music, dance, yoga, writing, coaching or life in general, everything just feels easy and simplistic. Flow is the culmination of breath and focus working together to create a natural flow. When you have all things clicking on all cylinders, the synchronicity and the ability to get into a groove creates a priceless flow. You can only know this once you’ve fully experienced it. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, there is a good chance you may need to adjust your focus and breath around what you really want in life.
Flow means you’re moving in the right direction, you’re jiving with your purpose and you’re most likely on track to reach your goals. And when you’re in the flow, dreams become possible, mountains become speed bumps and you find wind in your sails that you never knew you had.
Give these practices a try and see if you experience the difference. I know they have been life altering for me. I hope this message serves you. Namaste.