Create your new self through yoga, as it is a practice and philosophy based on reinforcing positive physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual values that translate into postures and attitudes practiced in everyday life. As a yoga practitioner, each person creates their own goal of how they want to look and the behaviors that reenforce those affirmations. Yoga focuses on deep breathing as a method of releasing mental, physical, and emotional toxins in the body. Yoga challenges thinking and behaviors that re-invent the “self.”
Before you begin your yoga practice, determine your goals and then execute them through postures that concentrate on initiating the “visualization” of you.” Focus on your goals and practice them in everyday life. Yoga is about “concentration” of thoughts and activating them as realistic step-by-step goals that benefit your mobility, flexibility, mentally and physically.
Let’s begin today’s yoga journey with closed eyes in seated posture. This means placing a folded blanket on the mat to sit on with crossed legs and straighten the back. The blanket will assist in maintaining the form and not slumping forward. The spine needs to be erect. Sit tall with the back of the palms resting on the knees. This is the first step of going inside your own energy and moving forward with your goals put into positive actions. When you have established an empty mind of all distracting thoughts through deep inhales and exhales through the nose, you are ready to take charge of your goals. Deep breathing releases tightness in the mind and body. You can then move one palm of the hand over the heart and the other hand placed softly just be below the belly button. Maintain conscious awareness through each deep breath.
The next posture releases tight energy in the spinal column. Lift the arms parallel above the head and interlace the fingers. Lift tall with the arms and palms and feel the release of tension. Take five deep inhales and exhales while holding the arms up long and straight. Slowly bend your head to one side then the other between the arms and clasped hands. Return the head and arms back to center and slowly lower the arms to each side of the hips.
Moving forward into a lengthening posture called dolphin pose. Bring the body down to the floor, lying on the belly. Bring the arms forward and parallel into a V shape, clasping the hands together. Next, lift the buttocks and legs as much as possible as you lift the arms at the same time just off of the mat. Be sure to keep the back legs straight, as you lift the chest. Focus on balance, as you hold the pose for three deep inhales and exhales then lower the forearms and legs to the floor. Rest.
This pose gradually releases tightness and improves flexibility of the spine, hips and legs, as well as strengthens the arms. The “mind set,” as you hold this pose and breathe, is to let go of tension in the chest, arms back. Next, slowly release the arms long and forward into “downward Dog” by raising the buttocks, pushing it up and lengthening the arms forward on flat, open palms. Hold this posture for five inhales/exhales. If you begin your yoga practice each day with five repetitions each of these two postures, you will begin to feel stronger and lighter in your everyday movements. Yoga presents a challenge, each time you roll out the mat to maintain simplicity and focus. The body will gradually become more flexible and mobile to enjoy life’s diversity. One of the greatest benefits of yoga is clearing the mind of negativity and opening it to positive energy through the unexpected challenges of everyday life.
Recently, an intense experience awakened my yoga consciousness and challenged me to remain calm, focused and aware. Driving down U.S. 27, I suddenly heard a loud crash, saw smoke and disaster from a head-on collision on the other side of 27. I took the next turn to reverse my direction and came upon the tragedy. Directing my focus on sizing up the situation as best as I could as a bystander, I turned on the warning lights, pulled off the highway and rushed to each of the two cars I saw involved in the crash to see if I could assist the victims. I took several deep breaths and began to initiate action. First, I called 911. While waiting for the rescue teams to arrive. I went over to the drivers of each vehicle, cautiously aware that there could be a fire and or explosion to see the extent of their injuries, if any and to determine their state of mind.
One victim had climbed out of the window to exit the vehicle. The other victim, in the other car, could not move and so I observed if the person was severely injured, bleeding or panicked. The best contribution I felt I could offer was a calm state of mind, slow gestures of assurance and let them know help was on the way. In the meantime, I became consciously aware of my own yoga practice as providing calmness in the midst of tragedy. Panicking, fast movements or frenzied words would not be beneficial. So, as I checked back and forth between the victims in the two separate cars, I continued to remain calm, focused and offered reassurance.
Thus, in reality, I reinforced my own yoga practice of conscious awareness, calmness and fortitude. When I returned to my car after the emergency team arrived and took charge, I was grateful for the opportunity to put into practice my yoga values and offer a bit of serenity in this crisis to those victims. I hope their lives improve each day!