Take your yoga off the mat! No – not that headstand at the park! Kirsty Norton shares 3 tips for extending the principles of yoga out and into your life.
“The real power of yoga is unleashed only when we engage yoga as a way of life, twenty-four hours a day” Georg Feuerstein
So what does yoga off the mat mean?
How can you bring what you experience on your mat into daily living? Your posture practice gives you ample tools to live yoga moment to moment. In fact, the opportunity to practice yoga is available every minute of the day.
Yoga is your natural state of being. Yoga is rooted in ethical and moral principles, in yoga known as Observing The Yamas and Observing The Niyamas.
Tip 1: Use Your Breath
Whilst our posture practice can bring immense joy and peace, it can also bring up feelings of fear and frustration from that inner critic. Frustrated in a pose? What does the teacher guide you to do? They’ll usually guide you back to your breath, to break it down, to your alignment and to highlight the foundations of the pose so you can build up to it.
So when you get frustrated in life, the lesson here is to return to your breath and see the situation for what it is. If you are feeling overwhelming then break it down, rewind so you don’t feel overwhelmed and set up the foundations correctly so you can approach it with ease.
“The great yoga teachers urge us to consider all aspects of our lives, to revere all living things, and to take no more than we need”. Suza Francina
Tip 2: Pay Attention
Your daily yoga practice (and I mean off the mat here) is an invitation to pay attention to your whole life, that argument with your friend, the person that cut in front of you, the sensations that you feel as a result, what your breath feels like, how you are talking, thinking and what subsequent actions you are taking. It’s a willingness to return to this moment of reality, whatever it offers. Yoga offers us the opportunity to transcend and transform so we return to our true essence.
I love what Judith Lasater says about transformation “practicing being present with all the moments of your life doesnt mean that everything that happens is okay and that you have to just learn to accept it. Things happen in the world that are harmful and even horrific. The practice of being fully present may even move you to dedicate your life to changing the suffering you see in the world. I am not asking you to change into something you think is better or more spiritual. I am asking you to consider removing the layers of doubt, fear, and denial that keep you from experiencing connection with your own wholeness”
Tip 3: Read All About It
I highly recommend her book called “Living your Yoga”. It has a wealth of gems on how to find compassion, on how to be patient and gain perspective. It’s a practical book with sage advice.
In closing, a complete yoga practice involves your daily acts of kindness and awareness. With compassion, we must face and brave our limitations in order to evolve and transcend them.
This post was shared by Kirsty Norton. Kirsty is a leader, a teacher, an author and a speaker. She practices daily and see’s yoga practices as a gateway into our essence. In our world, it’s of vital important to take care of our body and mind. Her dharma is to help people recognise their magnificence. She has been practicing for over 22 years and shares what she’s learnt with generosity. She is in the middle of writing a book, produced her own set of oracle cards and has been published in Yoga Magazine, Om Yoga Magazine and Elephant Journal. Find her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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