If you are a parent, an employee, a business owner, or just a member of the human species you have probably experienced the busyness of every daily life. More than ever, our lives have become full of things to think about, plan, arrange, organize and just plain “do.”
I notice, particularly this time of year, the effects from the amount of thinking that goes with the start of the school year, organizing the kid’s activities, planning for my teaching schedule, and keeping up with my husband’s business travel. My mind narrows in on filling up my calendar with trumpet and piano lessons, swim practice, gymnastics, yoga classes, and how to arrange our weekly activities without any of us blowing a fuse. As my perspective narrows, I can easily start to feel the stress start to build, my attention to how my body feels (and what it needs) starts to wane, my brain becomes full and my body becomes depleted.
This is where my yoga practice comes to the rescue. The practice of yoga is the practice of “yoking” or “unifying” the mind and body. It helps to bring us back to balance, just by the simple act of focusing on our body and our breath during the postures. Creating a stronger, more flexible body might be the thing that initially attracts us to a yoga practice, but it’s the benefits of the mind body connection which keeps us coming back to our mats.
When we get into the habit of unifying our body and mind, we can still manage all the doing that is required in our day, but with more focus, more presence and less stress. The more we practice, the more easier we can handle our to do lists and the busyness of life with an underlying sense of calm and even resting into the busyness.
With regular practice, you will start to notice yourself “yoking” your mind and body off of your yoga mat. The opportunities to connect the mind and body in our daily lives are endless. Even as you read these words on this page can you become aware, just for a moment, of your breath (and maybe take a few deep, mindful ones), or any sensation in your body while you are sitting in your chair? There are everyday opportunities to practice stillness, to quiet the mind and bring yourself back to a state of well-being. Try practicing presence while drinking a cup of tea, making a meal, washing the dishes. Notice the sensations in your body as you smile at a co-worker, hug a small child or whole-heartedly listen to a loved one. Practicing awareness in these moments will help you when the mind narrows in on the busyness of life.
Instead of waiting for the next vacation or your to-do list to end (it won’t), find peace in the small moments and become aware of the abundance of well-being that is available in simple, restful awareness.