celebrating life with yogaBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed.

What can Yoga Teach us about celebrating life? For the past twenty-five years, I have been diligently practicing Yoga several times a week. I began to practice Yoga when I developed severe lower back problems in my mid-twenties. One day, as I was walking across a city park in Denver, the pain that shot up and down my legs and seized my lower back almost made me collapse in the middle of the park! Since that day forward, I have managed to keep my back pain at a low simmer, largely due to a regular, balanced practice of Yoga postures.

As my Yoga practice continues to deepen over time, I have noticed that the way I approach my practice closely mirrors that way that I live my entire life. If you are a regular Yoga practitioner, you may have also noticed that what you do “on the mat” bears a close resemblance to your day-to-day life off the Yoga mat. Although the acuity of this metaphor may be disarming at first, it does give you some valuable feedback about how you approach your own life. This feedback is most likely comprised of a combination of positive and negative aspects.

For instance, if you start to cultivate a mindful awareness of how you approach your Yoga practice, you may quickly find that your commitment to practicing several times a week, regardless of what else is going on in your life, is highly admirable. By continuing to practice Yoga regularly throughout the week, you will benefit both physically and emotionally from this ancient form of self-care. In the same way, you may begin to notice that you have a strong ability to follow through on your personal and professional goals off the mat.

On the other hand, if you find that you are rushing through the asanas or holding your breath in anticipation of the next posture, you have the opportunity to change the way that you approach your practice, and in turn your life, so that you can manage your own energy in a more sustainable fashion. Of course, it is not sustainable, or even possible, to practice a series of Yoga postures without breathing. Breathing shallowly, yes, but not breathing at all would be quite problematic!

One of the main goals of Yoga is to teach you how to breathe diaphragmatically, so that all of the tissues in your body are flooded with fresh oxygen and nutrients. By breathing deeply and regularly, you will also feel mentally refreshed, and you will more easily replenish your own pranic energy. When you consciously begin to optimize your breathing patterns during a Yoga class or personal practice, you will notice that a degree of fatigue begins to lift and the rapidity of your thoughts will slow down, as your mind will begins to rest in a place of “calm abiding,” as the Buddhists would say.

Teach Your Students About Celebrating Life

If you are a Yoga teacher, you have an opportunity to help your students to learn more optimal ways of breathing, by teaching them any number of specialized pranayama techniques during a class. A few of the more accessible Yogic breathing techniques are Ocean Sounding Breath, or Ujjayi Pranayama, and the Relaxation Breath. Ujjayi Pranayama helps to detoxify and energize the body, while simultaneously calming down the mind. Relaxation Breath helps to soothe an overactive nervous system and lower cortisol levels, which helps a student to replenish his or her own life force energy.

These are some of the simple ways in which the practice of Yoga can be viewed as a metaphorical journey. Whether you are a student or a certified Yoga teacher, the way that you approach the practice can be used as a looking glass into the way that you approach your daily life. The wisdom that you gain about yourself and your students will help you to fine tune the practice, so that the time spent on the Yoga mat is energizing, nourishing, stabilizing, and inspiring. In turn, you will be able to fine-tune your metaphorical journey through celebrating life, so that it more closely approximates the life of your most cherished dreams.

Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she specializes in writing customized articles that are 100% unique. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at: enchantress108@gmail.com.

© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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