Over time, yoga becomes something we live, not just something we “practice.” The inevitable pressures of life have less of an impact on us as we respond in a more conscious manner. As we become balanced and harmonious, our interactions with people and situations become more deliberate, calm, and relaxed. We bring union and harmony to every encounter, whether it’s a random meeting on the street, a talk with our child, or a family reunion. When our inner world begins to change, our outer world shifts to reflect our new perspective.
Daily Yoga Practice Establish a regular yoga practice. Keep in mind that it is more powerful to practice each day for ten to twenty minutes than to do much longer sessions only once or twice a week. If you’ve never tried yoga, explore a variety of styles and teachers to find one that feels right for your own unique needs.If you practice at home, create a sacred space for yourself: Find a time when you won’t be interrupted, turn off your phone, and move through your practice, focusing on the inhalation and exhalation of each breath. You may want to explore the practices in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga Guidebook.
Meditate Meditation and yoga are two complementary practices with the same purpose: to experience the union of body, mind, and spirit. Meditation helps you go beyond the mind’s busy thought traffic into the stillness and silence of pure awareness. At the Chopra Center we offer instruction in a simple yet powerful practice called Primordial Sound Meditation (you can locate a teacher in your area by visiting choprateachers.com. You are also invited to participate in our 21-Day Meditation Challenge. You will receive a daily guided meditation and various tools and techniques you can use to deepen your practice.You can practice meditation right now by closing your eyes and observing the inflow and outflow of your breath for a few minutes. If thoughts arise, just let them go and return your attention to your breathing. One of the most important things to remember about meditation is that we’re not trying to get rid of thoughts – we’re just becoming aware of them, letting them go, and returning to the silent space beyond. Be gentle with yourself and don’t judge your meditation practice. Try this practice for a few minutes each day, gradually extending the time.
Practice Non-Judgment At the beginning of the day, tell yourself, Today I shall judge nothing that occurs. Throughout the day, remind yourself of this statement whenever you catch yourself judging. Judgment comes from the ego’s need to control and is based on fear. Your true Self is completely free of these things because it recognizes that everyone is the same spirit in different disguises.
Finding Compassion on the Road Driving is an excellent laboratory for self-awareness – and an ideal place to cultivate equanimity and calm. Before you start the car, give your body a good stretch to each side and set your intention for a peaceful, safe journey. As you drive, relax your grip on the steering wheel. Keep your tongue at fire point (the spot on the roof of your mouth just between your two upper front teeth) to keep your jaw relaxed.Be aware of situations that cause you to become frustrated, such as slow traffic or someone cutting you off. When these situations arise, see if you can focus your attention on your breath and put your awareness in your heart, letting go of the story you’re telling yourself about “the jerk” in the other car. Advanced yogis can practice feeling compassion for the other drivers as well. You can silently repeat, “Just like me, they want to feel happy, peaceful, and loved.”
Cultivate Witnessing Awareness Throughout the day, practice shifting into a witnessing mode of awareness. Turn your attention to the silent witness within – your soul – and take time to commune with the intelligence in all living things. Listen to the crash of the ocean waves, see the smile of a loved one, or watch a beautiful sunrise. Established in the peace of your inner silence, you will experience joy and reverence for nature and life in all its manifestations.