Some of my favorite outdoor activities often make it easier for me to stay relaxed about life. This is the simplest here in the northeast in the summer, although, when we have had a good snow, I can enjoy cross-country skiing. Whatever the season, living in-the-day, living in-the-present is still the antidote to many of my internal struggles. I have tools for present-focused living that I use all the time for managing the random content of my thoughts and the roller coaster of my emotions. Positive thinking. Compassionate self-observation. Good company (essential, actually). They all make a difference.
I know this isn’t a newsflash for regular yoga practitioners. It’s just that some well worn truths are so easy to forget. The truth is that yoga practice affects my consciousness. It changes how I think. So, it’s easier to access my tools for skillful living when I’ve done my practice of kriyas, asana, pranayama and meditation.
When I’m more conscious I tend to remember my tools. I remember what I need and even discover new tools. It seems to open a channel of intelligence within me. I remember that skillful choices make a difference and I feel better about myself for using them.
At times in my life when I have struggled to have a regular practice, I commit to doing just 15 minutes of practice when I begin. Otherwise I easily talk myself out of it with arguments of “I can’t take an hour to do yoga today.” With this approach, I usually end up actually doing 30 – 45 minutes. And even when I do just 15 minutes, it changes me. Practice changes how I think and how I choose.
Experiment. Observe. Does even a short practice change how you think?