Friday, July 11, 2008

Yoga for Every Day

It is not uncommon to think of yoga as something that is relegated to a studio or fitness center or even the community ed room at your local school or church. We start or end our “workday” there, feeling good that we made it to our session. But when we walk out of the session, we are often done with yoga - but think about it, yoga can be brought beyond that studio or room in all sorts of small, subtle ways.

You can bring a variety of breathing techniques to your day – the Ujjayi Breath to focus and center yourself before, during or after a meeting. Or maybe you are feeling chilled, warm yourself with ujjayi breathing. Bhastrika breath to invigorate you in the middle of the afternoon doldrums. 2 to 1 breathing to calm yourself down after a confrontational or stressful phone call. How about going for a walk or a run? See how smooth and even you can make your breath with each stride.

You can add in the bandha’s while out working in the garden or cleaning house. Combine the breath and the locks as you vacuum, mow the lawn, or shovel snow (ooo, I said the “snow” word!). As you are bent over raking, hoeing, or pulling weeds, bring your awareness to Uddiyana bandha to protect your lower back. Check in with Mula bandha to add additional support.

Just getting back from a swim? Run? Bike ride? Find a spot on the grass and do a few sun salutations to stretch out and re-connect with a calmer breath. Playing with the kids? Teach them up-dog, down-dog, snake, seal, pigeon, crane, chair, the warriors – make it a game to see how many they can remember, like Simon-Says.

Yoga doesn’t have to be relegated to just a room. It can be brought to your daily life in all sorts of fun and unique ways. And that is just part of the beauty of a yogic practice. I'm sure there are other ways that I'm just not thinking of. If something you do comes to mind, feel free to post it in the comments section.

Have a great weekend!

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