Yoga for life

Let the earth serve as your yoga mat when none are handy.

Open a door to nature and take a deep, long breath as you let go of distracting thoughts. If negativity creeps into the mind and the body becomes tense, let those thoughts and feelings pass on through as you continue to breathe. Avoid holding onto negativity in order to reduce mental or emotional burnout. With each inhale, expand the lungs with the fresh air of nature and beauty as you stand tall like a mountain with eyes closed. Then, become that “tower of strength.” Smile, you have reached the first plateau.

Yoga philosophy says, “be mindful,” which means choose how you think and feel. Then act on the positive thoughts. Turn to someone at the grocery store and compliment them on something beautiful, their smile, their kindness in line, their helpfulness (especially the employees and manager.) Tell them what you see in them that stands out and thank them for making a better day for you and everyone whose lives they touch. Life is beautiful if we look for it and continue to unveil its awareness in the mind and in our speech. Thus, begin right where you are in the present moment and express those thoughts of kindness, reducing mental and emotional burnout. It will, in turn, bring your mind into calmness.

Start where you are and breathe new life into your old thoughts, then follow-up with proactive action. Avoid the mainstream fear and negativity. We are in a new day with new opportunities to experience the best in life and in each moment as we cleanse the mind and express beauty. Then, go outside for yoga in nature. Discover a spot you may have not noticed, in a wide-open place, to begin yoga awakening.

Triangle pose: What is fantastic about yoga is that it requires only a six-foot space to lay out the mat and turn over the present moment to the healing art of yoga. If you don’t have a mat, use nature’s own. Once you have found your peaceful place with no electrical lines and noise, close your eyes and stand tall in Tadasana or Mountain pose. In the woods, where this picture was taken, the Earth is the mat and helps improve balance.

Triangle pose extends the legs, arms and core. Widen the legs with one foot pointed out and the other foot turned in at a slight angle. When the core is lengthened, digestion improves as organs are awakened and digestive fluids flow unrestricted into their proper location for elimination of toxins in the body. In Triangle pose, raise one arm high into the sky and lower the opposite one in line with the raised arm, towards the ground. Keep the body in a straight line. Triangle pose loosens tension as one arm is lengthened into the sky and the other arm extended down to the ankle. Breathe and turn the head to look up at the raised arm. “Still” the mind and observe the clouds and power of nature as energy is replenished. Fully engage the mind into this yoga posture holding it for several minutes before repeating it three times on each side.

In the near future, I look forward to our yoga classes once again coming into fruition when we will gather with renewed appreciation for each other and the values that we share through our dedicated practice. Join us for yoga at the YMCA; we will let you know through this column when classes resume. In the meantime, create your own yoga practice in all actions and let go of burnout. Life is beautiful! Remind each person you greet with a smile and let them know they are beautiful!

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