At this time of the year many people find it difficult to get to yoga classes (with Christmas shopping or perhaps kids are home from school) and also many studios close over the Christmas/New Year period. The challenge can be to keep up a regular yoga practice when we can’t get to classes. Ideally the skills we learn within the class environment, once integrated, can be woven into the fabric of our lives.
I recently attended a wonderful yoga retreat where we explored the many and varied ways we can weave mindfulness into every moment of our waking life. We can use dharana (concentrating the mind on a specific object or technique) to find stillness, equanimity and peace of mind. In this place too, we may drop into the gap, the place between thoughts, between breath where we may experience our true nature first hand.
There are an infinite amount of techniques we can use to experience presence; here are a few that you may find helpful.
- eat slowly and mindfully using all your senses. Avoid eating in front of a computer or TV.
- go for a walk in nature and leave your phone and music behind.
- when stuck in traffic or in a cue, take the opportunity to watch your breath (don’t change it, just watch it)
- if feeling busy, rushed or overwhelmed, STOP and breathe. Breathe IN patience, Breathe OUT love, kindness or compassion.
- find 5 minutes each day to sit quietly and simply listen. Listen to the sounds around you. There is no need to identify what they are or where they come from. Resist labelling them are pleasant or unpleasant. Welcome all sounds equally.