One Thing at a Time
You may think that you are getting a lot done if you are doing many things at once. However, studies have proven that you actually complete less in the short-term when you multitask. Yoga provides us with the tools to expand our focus over time by offering guidance in the form of one practice at a time. To begin we address that which is most accessible; the body.
Discipline in Practice
Discipline is learned. Embedded within the eight limbs of Yoga are practices that are ineffective unless done with discipline. As we practice, consistently, we develop focus, control, awareness, discernment and more.
Consider the practice of Satya: non-lying or truthfulness. You may think, “I am not a liar.” According to Yoga; Satya is as much about what you say as what you do not say. It is a practice of consideration of your thoughts and words before they leave you; a practice of considering if what you are about to say will help or hurt yourself and others. Often, we will not realize we are lying until the words have left our mouths. Yoga teaches us to become observers of our behavior at all times. This discipline of observation helps us to become aware of habits that are rooted in self preservation. As we continue to practice, we refine our vision and begin to see more clearly.
The Resulting Heat
Have you ever made custard from scratch? In order to do so you must heat is slowly, over a period of time, while stirring constantly. The effect of the slow heat, time and consistent movement can result in a perfectly prepared custard. A lack of discipline and focus could lead to higher heat, shorter time and reduced movement resulting in an unconcealed liquid or a thick, gelatinous mess.
Tapas has many translations: heat, cook, purify, detoxify, zeal of practice, discipline, austerity. Tapas is both the means and the end. Through discipline in movement, breath, mindful focus, time, awareness, observation, effort, restoration, etc. we create heat, purification, detoxification, clarity, transparency, awareness of the Self. Our practice of creating Tapas results in Tapas. Our discipline results in discipline. Our focus begets focus.
The heat/intensity/discipline/passion of our practice cooks impurities out of us and refines us to our base - the Self.
More Than Poses
If you are ready to remove that which you do not need, lighten the load you carry daily, purify and clear away the impurities that poison you so that you spend each day feeling healthier, happier, more joy and ease in your life then you are ready to begin the practice of Yoga.
Chose wisely, for not every practice is guided equally. According to Hatha Yoga a Vinyasa (Flow) Practice is for the advanced practitioner. Would you begin running and start with 10 miles? Would you join a gym and on your first day and lift 100lbs? Approach Yoga in the same way. Begin with a practice that aligns with your current knowledge, strength, flexibility and ability levels. Begin here to develop the discipline and, as you create Tapas, you will know how to progress.
Everyone has their own preferences. Some of us are followers, some leaders, some travel to the beat of their own drum. Luckily, Yoga does not come with a rule book, but more so a set of guidelines.
Yoga is the practice of: Movement, Breath, Mindfulness, Focus, Awareness, Observation, Direction and Intention. Generally speaking, if you have all of that, then you are practicing Yoga and you can do so anywhere.
How to Practice Yoga
The fact that Yoga is a lifestyle and should be done everywhere is what makes it so great!
You can practice in a studio, on your lawn, upon a roof deck, on a boat, in an airplane, you name it! So, why haven't you tried Yoga yet?
Be A Beginner
We all begin at the beginning. Be forgiving of yourself when you try Yoga for the first time. No one knows all of the moves or understands what everything means upon their first try. If Yoga was easy, we wouldn't call it a practice.
How to prepare:
Be ready to really listen to your instructor or teacher.
Take your time and look around to see what others are doing.
Stay calm and take breaks as you need to.
Practice with Friends
Book a Group Private Session for yourself and your friends. In this way, you get to try out Yoga with people whom you have fun. You also might make some memories along the way and introduce some of your friends to something they never would have tried.
Get your colleges and coworkers together for a corporate practice. Who knows, it might even turn into a new tradition.
Seek out a unique offering that goes beyond that which is expected. Book a session that includes a boat ride, live music or cocktails to follow. Find a studio that offers on-location practices and have them visit your house, hotel or dock.
Focus Upon Your Self
Address your individual needs. Focus upon getting stronger, more flexible, sleep, energy, lifestyle or mental health. Learn how Yoga can be therapy.