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I come back to study the Yoga Sutra over and over again. The very first one is perhaps the most important and significant for me.
The Yoga-Sutra of Patañjali: A New Translation and Commentary by Georg Feuerstein Ph.D. defines the first yoga sutra as “Now commences the exposition of Yoga.”
Nischala Joy Devi’s definition in The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras says: “With humility (an open heart and mind), we embrace the sacred study of Yoga.”
Easy enough to study. Easy enough to say. More difficult to put into practice.
On my mat, I can more easily put all else aside for a couple of hours and just focus on my practice. Yet, even that isn’t always possible for me, unless all of my children are with me, and I know everyone is completely safe! Trying to implement this first sutra caused me to be taken aback as I became more aware of my ongoing struggle!
I stopped in the middle of making my bed to open my curtains. I brewed my coffee while starting laundry. I picked out my clothes while brushing my teeth. I seemed to dislike having my radio on one station as I commuted, so I alternated between radio, CD, and podcasts. I drank my smoothies on the road, and made any phone calls then, too. I ate lunch at my desk while working. I lost count how many times a day I checked my phone for texts, social media notifications, messages, and voicemail. While scrolling through social media feeds, I got distracted by friends’ posted articles and curious about how others commented. While surfing the web, Google wouldn’t let me only make one or two inquiries. No way! I had to browse several sites until I found just the right pages that held my interest for the longest amounts of time. I don’t know how many times I stopped what I was doing to talk with my children, co-workers, or friends…but worse…how many times did I pick up my phone to make sure I wasn’t missing anything while I was in the middle of a conversation?! That is rude, and I cannot apologize enough!
None of this includes going about my daily tasks while simultaneously having continuous thoughts about anything and everything other than the task at hand, and try as I might, I just couldn’t successfully tune out other people’s’ conversations that were in no way of concern to me. Did I mention I put away tons of clean laundry while binge watching a new Netflix fav?
It is no wonder, I am tired, stressed out, and overwhelmed. It is no wonder my health has been in a fragile state. I’m in a constant state of multitasking!
There was not much pause to be present with any one thing, much less find God’s presence.
Yet, Spirit was there, in everything and in everyone I encountered, being ignored and going unnoticed and unappreciated. Except on a few occasions when I was made to shut up and listen!
This week, I’ll try more diligently to be still in the present moment and more aware of all that is. I’ll try to focus with more clarity in all situations, and speak more carefully.
As I continue to meditate and contemplate both of these translations, they resonate within me as such, “Yoga is Now. Feel God’s presence.”
Tonight, I will remember Yoga is a practice. Being still is a practice. Listening for God is a practice.
I have been met with some health and family issues which caused a great deal of overwhelm and exhaustion.
Part of being human is to face challenges, overcome obstacles, and restore health. It’s life!
How do I deal when life happens? I come to my Yoga mat!
Yoga has much to offer, no matter my energy level or my body needs. When I’m stuck in chronic fatigue and my body is inflamed in pain, I rest and relax in restorative asana. When I feel a bit stronger, but still need to go slow and withdraw inward, Yin Yoga is my go-to practice. On my strong and energetic days, I love practices that incorporate Vinyasa Flow. Of course, I have some favorite Kundalini practices that bring my whole being into balance at any given time.
What is your Yoga like? Are you wondering what mat is best for your needs?
I use three mats on a regular basis.
My favorite mat of all, cheap and generic, is my very first yoga mat. It has seen the most tears and transition. After 20 plus years of practice, it still holds me in its grip, but the sticky these days might be from years worth of grit, grime, and kiddo sticky stuff! This mat stays in my home teaching space, to remind me how I first came to yoga, and how I wish to use my yoga stories to serve others.
I recently started using a Gaiam Print Premium Yoga Mat originally bought for my daughter several years ago. For the price, I am impressed by its grip and quality of this lightweight mat! It travels with me when I teach at Take Charge Fitness, and it stays in my car for impromptu yoga practices in parks, on work breaks and road trips.
My most expensive and heaviest mat stays home, for my personal practice, and it is used inside and out. The Manduka PRO Yoga Mat is quite pricey. At first I was skeptical because I found this mat very slippery. However, I have had this mat for a couple of years now and realize it still isn’t fully broken in! This is my thickest mat, perfect for days when tender trigger points are present. The extra cushion is a blessing! My naturally oily and sweaty body still slips and slides in some vigorous workouts, but a yoga towel on top of the mat helps absorb extra moisture. This high quality mat just may be the last yoga mat I will ever need to purchase!
There are some great yoga mat options out there, and some I wasn’t aware of until I stopped to check out Reviews.com.
While I’m NOT an expert on yoga mats, my friends over at Reviews.com ARE! I love what they have to say, learned a few tips for my Manduka PRO, and I’m awesomely impressed at how they’ve spent hours surveying, researching, and testing top brands at varying prices. They’ve talked with experienced yoga teachers and experienced asana in extreme temperatures and in all asana practices imaginable. Yoga dedication is seen through their ongoing studies, and reviews are updated accordingly to include the newest products available.
I am confident you’ll find YOUR perfect mat as recommended by Reviews.com. Check them out today!
Your Yoga practice is waiting for you!