Since I have become a “Dame d’un Certain Age” in French terms, I have been spending quite a bit of time thinking about how I spend my time and what really matters. Why waste time doing things you don’t love, right?
Given that particular frame of mind and my “certain age” as a reference point, I have been looking around at the world for quite some time and figuring out how to live in alignment with what matters to me, and I would like to suggest you all try to do the same.
Yoga is all about proprioception, not only of your physical form, but also of your heart, soul, and mind. What do you feel in any given moment? What things make your heart sing? What are your honest talents that you can share(and don’t claim you don’t have any, because everyone does!)? When people ask me how to incorporate a personal home practice into their lives, this is something I always mention. Listen to me. Listen really well. READY?? YOGA ISN’T JUST ASANA. YOGA ISN’T JUST GOING INTO A STUDIO AND STRETCHING YOUR BODY INTO SHAPES. Yes, there is that element to it, certainly, but real, honest yoga practice is so much bigger than just the body. Yoga is an approach to life. It is a way of life that should touch everything you do, from what you eat, to how you love, to how you work, and how you grow.
In plain English, what does this mean? It means really slow down, and notice your life. What do you feel when you are living it? Take the time to really taste your food, not just wolf it down, and think about the textures and flavors. What do you like or not like about it? When you go to work, what about your employment do you like? What do you not like? Is there a reasonable way to incorporate more of what you enjoy into your daily work routine? If you have been saying you needed to sign up to work shifts at the homeless shelter, what is stopping you? Pick up the phone and call those people!! They need you! If you have always wanted to travel and you could go anywhere you wanted, where would you go? Is there a financially responsible way to make it happen? What would happen if you saved every $5 bill that came into your hands in a special place until you had enough money for a plane ticket to that magical place? At the end of the day, money only matters to the extent that it keeps a roof over our heads and food on the table. We can always do with fewer material things. Life is really composed of experiences and memories, not things. Things matter to you today and tomorrow end up in the garbage. They are ephemeral. Why not put some of your hard earned cash into the trip of a lifetime instead of granite countertops, for example? Granite is really pretty, but I can tell you from experience, Paris is so much prettier, and I am so much the better person for having experienced it. I will have those memories always, and when I die, I get to take them with me. All those counters are good for is as a workspace for making dinner, and laminate will serve just as well. When you die, would you rather have seen that place you have always dreamed of, or have fashionable countertops in your kitchen? Start making really conscious lifestyle choices that are in alignment with what matters to you. The only way to know what matters to you is…and you guessed it, PAY ATTENTION. PRACTICE YOUR YOGA.
Your life is here. Now. Pay attention to it. If you want to go to Paris(which I obviously highly recommend) or Bali, or Italy, or San Francisco, or wherever, don’t just dream about it, try to make it happen! Notice how you feel EVERY DAY. Pay attention to what makes your heart sing. Move around the planet. Breathe. Love. Share. Taste. Enjoy. Consider. Help others.
As the Buddha said, WAKE UP.
“If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts, happiness follows them like a never departing shadow.” Gautama Buddha