Myth # one: I can’t do yoga. I’m not flexible.
I can understand why a person might be intimidated by yoga at first glance. If you view a yoga magazine, many yogis are often portrayed in the most impossible poses. Achieving a particular posture or asana is not what yoga is about.
Yoga means union, to connect the outside you with the inner you. It is about finding an inner stillness, so that you can discover your potential, your own truth and what you need to do to feel fulfilled. Yoga is a non competitive practice. Every yoga class is about connecting with your mind, body and emotions. You are encouraged to get to know your own limitations and work with what you’ve got. The end result is something quite satisfying, because you’ve taken time for you, you’ve loosened up some habitual knots and you’ve downloaded many unhelpful thoughts. Regular practice helps you become more flexible mentally and physically, breath more deeply which rejuvenates and relaxes you, and in turn gives you a feeling of being in sync with what life has to offer.
Myth #2: I could never just sit there. How boring? I don’t have precious time to waste.
If you sit quietly for a short period and watch your thoughts you will notice that your mind is constantly in motion. Yogis call this the “monkeys of the mind”. It is pretty impossible to stop the thinking process. To add to this, we are being constantly bombarded with images and sensations in our increasingly mechanized world.
What meditation does is it cleans the mind of all the stuff you’ve been absorbing throughout your day. Just like taking a daily shower to clean the body, meditation cleans the mind. When your mind is clean you think with clarity, avoid mistakes and focus your energy. As my guru would say, “It is not magic. It is not religion; it is a technology that uses what you already have; your senses, your mind and your body” [i] . Here is a list of what meditation can do for you:
- Meditation gives you back time – we waste a tremendous amount of time by losing our focus or make mistakes because our mind drifts
- It clears the subconscious and helps you keep your clarity
- It helps you to be present with what you are doing
- It integrates the broad lens of the mind with the narrow focus of action. Normally we narrow our view under stress and pressure. We do not see resources and opportunities that are already present
- The mind never stops but you can create stillness within you where you do not react to the mind. This stillness often calms the flow of the mind and creates a quiet spot in the center of the storm.
The end result is a better functioning you. Practicing yoga and meditation does not have to be long and drawn out. It can be as simple as 5 minutes. The long lasting effects come when you do it regularly. Ongoing practice helps you rise above the craziness of the day, see the bigger picture and act rather than react to what comes your way.
Take a moment now, sit up straight, close your eyes place your hands on your lap and focus on the breath. Breathe 4 counts in and 4 counts out, slowly. Mentally recite with each breath “I am Peace”. Continue for 1 to 3 minutes.
[i] Yogi Bhajan, The Mind; its projections and multiple facets. Kundalini Research Institute, 1998 (page 141)