I'm thankful to the practice of yoga for greater...
EMOTIONAL STABILITY – You're familiar with the historical dating annotations B.C., B.C.E, A.D., etc., right? Well in my own story, I like to think of it as B.Y and A.Y. – before yoga and after yoga. Where before I felt as a hapless passenger on my emotional roller coaster rides, now the fluctuations in my emotional life are not so drastic and I feel I have much better control of my mental and emotional states.
When I'm in the thick of it, I often try and go out of my way in giving myself time to feel what I need to feel – I am a human being after all. However, I know that just like after finishing a meal at the Cheesecake Factory, sometimes enough is enough and it’s time to roll on before more damage is done. The choices we make in our most dire straights, are the ones that can matter most to our continued physical and emotional health. It really is amazing what effects a slow exhalation can have on the body – especially when administered repeatedly and accompanied with movement. I have moments where I move towards anxiety. I experience situations that I allow to depress me. We all do. But having access to a few rounds of sweet breathing in my favorite poses is often enough to get me out of my funk and back on a more productive and functional emotional frequency.
"yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind."
Patanjali's Yoga Sutras 1.2 states that, "yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind." This is the classical definition of yoga. By coming to my mat time and time again - some days strong, some days weak, some days in physical pain, some days in emotional pain, some days balanced, some days shaky - I am forced to come to grips with my body and mind as they are and attempt through the rigors and restorations of yoga, to calm my anxious and erratic mind. I've had some interesting situations of late that would likely have brought a younger or yoga-less John to pretty dark place, but now I have a tool to rely on when I need it most to help get my mind to stop looping the "woe is me" depressive thoughts. Instead, I'm able to spend a little time giving my body and mind what they need to heal and start moving forward again.
"Constantly then, give to thyself this retreat, and renew thyself..." ~Marcus Aurelius
One of my all-time favorite yoga quotes is by someone who may have never even heard of yoga, but was all-too-familiar with the somewhat similar stoic way of life. One of Rome's greatest Emperors, Marcus Aurelius remarked in his Meditations, " it is in thy power whenever thou shalt choose to retire into thyself. For nowhere either with more quiet or more freedom from trouble does a man retire than into his own soul, particularly when he has within him such thoughts that by looking into them he is immediately in perfect tranquility; and I affirm that tranquility is nothing else than the good ordering of the mind." And just like a doctor doctoring himself, Aurelius self-administers his prescription: "Constantly then give to thyself this retreat, and renew thyself; and let thy principles...send thee back free from all discontent with the things to which thou returnest."
Yoga Gratitude Continued...
#2 - Dietary Changes
#4 - A Strong Heart