Noise. Traffic. Schedules. Clocks. Too much to do. Too little time.
These are the things that take us out of center and into stress.
They are also the basic realities of our world – what we deal with day after day after day….
The question is – how do you keep center when so much of what you deal with on a daily basis blasts you out of it? How do you stay calm when you’re surrounded by chaos? How do you keep focus when there are endless competing demands for your attention?
These are my most favorite questions – because answering them takes me to the heart of yoga. Not exercise, not sitting meditation. But the ongoing practice of staying centered, clear and calm….
The following practices involve basic techniques, beginning always with the basis: focus. And you can focus on whatever you want…
- Conscious breathing is being aware of your breath, its flow and rhythm, ease and depth (or lack of it).
- Conscious walking is focus on walking itself – the rhythm of your step, the strength in your legs, the swing of your arms, your breath as you move. (Warning: it doesn’t work if you’re on the phone, texting, or iPod-ing).
- Mindfulness is staying focused on what you’re doing in the moment, whether walking, standing on line at the market, washing dishes – whatever. How does your body feel? How is your breathing? What are you thinking?
- Visualization is imagining that you ‘see’ your center – ex: a circle at your navel, or the length of your spine; or that you ‘see’ your breath – ex: as a color, or as water flowing.
- Directed breathing is thinking (directing) your breath into any part of your body that feels tense; breathing into your center; inhaling energy, exhaling tension.
Why are these simple practices so powerful? Because they send mind and body a clear message to slow down and let go. They quiet and soothe your central nervous system. They give your brain a moment’s rest – after all, how much easier is it to keep one focus rather than run after 50 distractions?
The fact is – one breath, one image, one moment’s focus can transform your whole day.
Transform enough days and you’re in the process of transforming your life….