Friday, April 15, 2011

Cutting our mental chains through yoga

The other day, I stumbled across several articles about the diseases that practicing yoga can help to prevent. Of course, it lowers any issue to do with high blood pressure or high stress, and helps regulate breathing patterns. But the one that stuck out to me was eating disorders. There was a study done with teenage girls suffering from eating disorders, and apparently it helped them out a lot to practice yoga. It said that apparently, the girls reported that the only time they were not obsessing over and incessesantly thinking about food and their bodies and being thin, was when they were in yoga class. At first, I was a little skeptical of this study, but it makes sense.

When you are holding a tough pose, which requires serious strength, focus, and concentration, it's almost impossible to let your mind go to many complex places. Most of the time, if my mind wanders somewhere and gets caught up in whatever buisness it wants to latch onto and take me out of the present moment, I fall out of the pose, I lose my balance, and I have to start over.

For the girls who are suffering with eating disorders, the majority of them are probably perfectionists, and my guess is, they do not want to be caught dead falling over in front of others, so they focus on the practice. In turn, focusing on the practice, including their breath, the asanas (postures), and the teacher's instruction, they start to reap the benefits. Looking bad falling over probably dissapates and they start to relish in their practice and realize they don't have to be thinking about food every minute of the day. That's just my guess.

Yoga is a form of meditation. It has the ability to make people realize they do not have to be controlled by their thoughts. Instead, they can be fully present with a clear mind, that is empty-- Empty doesn't mean no thinking. Obviously, thinking is good, it's necessary. But yoga can filter out the crap- the negative thoughts we all have floating around in our heads naturally.

This is the main reason why yoga is a beautiful, glorious practice. It's a gateway to freedom.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Staying Grounded in the midst of a Daydream

So, these days, I'm kind of half-way in La-La Land, and halfway in reality. Let's get real, I am graduating from college 16 days from right now. Actually, I will be graduated already in exactly 16 days. I will be lounging around the pool or taking a leisurely bike ride in 16 days from right now... with absolutely no more school work to do. How the hell am I supposed to focus on anything that is due within the next few days? It's not like I am riding a thin line between grades in any of my classes, which is wonderful, but at the same time, at this point, I need that kind of situation to motivate me to get my head out of the clouds, and freaking concentrate. I am a focused gal, I'd say, and I get my shit done. But you know what, when I have thoughts of my family celebrating, studying Hindu scriptures and being taught HOW TO TEACH yoga!? How am I supposed to focus? Oh, not to mention that 4-month trip to Italy my boyfriend and I are taking in August.

We all know what's coming- Thank God for Yoga.

Yoga really does have the power to bring me back to the present... probably the most effective thing I can do to keep myself here, and concentrated. I have two stories left to turn in, and half of a novel to read... all before Tuesday. It's fine, and I will get it done. But I do not want to just "get it done." I want to get it done, and go out with a bang. I am trying not to put pressure on myself, but both of the stories I am writing about interest me greatly, and I want to make sure I do them right.

Today, in yoga, I kept thinking when exactly I will have time to write and read. My mind was jumbled, and I kept changing my mind about where, when, and how I would do my work. But finally, about halfway through class, I believe I was in warrior 3, balancing on my left leg with my arms and one leg outstretched....when I said to myself, "Shut-up, okay? Cut yourself a frickin break. You will get them done, and just trust they will be done well." Trust is the key word for me. If I believe and know I am capable of getting things done well, I will be more at ease, and that is what yoga helps me to do. If I am constantly thinking about what I have to do next, or later, or tomorrow, or the next day, or next week, how could I possibly enjoy myself?

So, I realized today, that, within the next couple of days, I will be calm, and take one task at a time. The main factor that will allow me to do these things, is my ability to trust and to believe in myself. Thanks to yoga. Not to mention, I will keep reminding myself that this weekend is the very last weekend, possibly in my entire life, that I will have to do "homework".