Going Beyond the OM

Trust me, you don’t always need your mat to practice yoga. So if you can’t make it to your mat (or don’t want to) here are 5 ways to practice anyway:

1. Begin your day by setting a ‘Sankalpa’ (a sacred intention, vow or desire).

Before your feet even hit the floor, set an intention. A good way to do this is to ask your body and mind what it needs. At the end of the day, what will your body and mind thank you for?

It’s important to set your intention right when you wake up when your mind has not yet been clouded with the endless tasks and to-do lists for the day. Use it throughout the day when it starts to feel a little chaotic.

2. Be kind (Ahimsa – non-violence).

Always start with yourself. So what does being kind to yourself look like? Stopping to check in with yourself before you say yes –  Going for a walk –  Telling yourself ‘I love you’ –  Getting on your mat –  Trying something new – Taking a lunch break – having a quiet cup of coffee or tea.

Remember, you get to choose – Be kind to yourself.

3. Breathe (Pranayama – Life Force).

We have spoken about this before, breathing is one of the kindest things you can do for your body. Don’t underestimate the power of your breath. If you really think about it, breathing is a sacred experience. It should be cherished – your life literally depends on it.

Stop at least one time a day to breathe intentionally for 1-5 minutes. Sit restfully and Take deep inhales, soften the exhales that’s all you need to do.  Breath in through the nose and out through the nose bringing the breath to the back of the throat, and when you breathe out feel as if you are fogging a mirror with your breath. It starts what we call the Ujjayi breath or the breath of life.

4. Fuel your body with high vibrational meals (Saucha – purity).

Just like breath is our life force, food is our energy. Food has the ability to raise your cholesterol, create brain fog, fatigue, acne, and belly fat, to name a few.

Or, food has the ability to give you vitality, clarity and focus, balance your pH, level out blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and in many instances, maybe even cure some illnesses – all by what we choose to put into our bodies.

What we put into our bodies often influences other decisions we make, so honor the vessel. It is… the only one you will ever have.

5. Keep your space organized (Aparigraha – non-possessiveness).

Clutter creates chaos. A messy outer world often means a cluttered and messy inner world. We function at a higher level when our space is clean and workable. Think simple, and start small.

Let go of what no longer serves you. Toss it. That belief that getting health is too hard? Let it go. The next time you think you absolutely need something, think twice.

So the next time you catch yourself coming up with a million different excuses to not get on your mat, remember that yoga is a diverse, unique and personal practice – and it’s accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Namaste my loves,

I’ll see you Beyond the OM!!!

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Taking Your Yoga Practice Beyond the OM

It’s one thing to find a sense of tranquillity in a yoga studio, surrounded by beautiful pictures and statues, relaxing music in the background and the soothing sound of a teacher’s voice guiding you through relaxation. But what happens afterwards?

How do we take what we have learned in class and apply it to our life off the mat, or do we fall back into old habits like getting annoyed with fellow drivers, frazzled about deadlines at work, or cranky with coworkers & family?

As yogis, we have the opportunity every time we practice to learn something new about ourselves and the way we move, think, act and breathe. We can have some incredible “ohhhh” moments during class but the real benefits come when we can take those moments with us outside of the studio.

Where do we begin…here are 3 really simple but really effective ways of taking yoga off your mat and into your daily life.

1. Connect With Your Breath

Breathing is the most important aspect of life yet how often do we connect with our breath outside of a yoga class?! Become curious about how you breathe in the same way you would in a yoga class; tune in to your breath several times a day, notice the quality of its natural flow, and see how it changes at different times. The quality and flow of your breath will most often reflect how you are feeling internally, so if you need to, use that awareness to deepen and steady your breath to feel more centered and calm. This is particularly awesome if you are on your way to an important meeting, interview or appointment.

2. Notice The Position Of Your Body

You don’t have to be in a yoga pose to notice the position of your body and how you naturally stand and move. Think about the way your yoga teacher guides you to become more aware of your alignment during an asana, and use that same sense of awareness as you move throughout your day. You may be quite surprised at some of your habitual ways of holding and moving your body.

Take a moment to pause and check in with your body.  Do you favor one side as you stand, make adjustments and come back to a place of balance. Are you slouching? Roll those shoulder down & back.  Do you need lumbar support at your desk chair or car?  Take a note of that and make a change.  Are you holding unnecessary tension in your jaw, shoulders, or hands, then use the breath to soften and let go.

3. Create Space For You

One of the reasons so many people love yoga, is that it gives you an opportunity to take time out just for you. Taking that time for you sends a powerful message to your subconscious that you value yourself and your well-being — this will do wonders for your self-esteem. And you don’t even need to set aside 90 minutes of “me-time” to reap the benefits, as even just 10 minutes will have a positive effect!

Perhaps you take a morning coffee break even if you’re really busy at work, perhaps you get up 5 minutes earlier and do one yoga pose before breakfast, or perhaps you enjoy a nice hot bath instead of a quick shower when you get home. You really don’t need to wait for a yoga class to create that space for yourself.

There are so many other ways you can take your yoga off the mat and into your life. If you have any awesome ideas, feel free to share them in the comments section below so we can all benefit!

As always, I’ll see you Beyond the OM!!

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