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"The yoga pose is not the goal. Becoming flexible is not the goal. Standing on your hands is not the goal. The goal is serenity. Balance. Truly finding peace in your own skin.” - Rachel Brathen
Yoga is much more than just asana. Of course, practicing the poses and getting into challenging ones for fancy photos can be part of it - but that's only one aspect!
It took quite some time for me to realize that yoga practice does not limit to the mat but goes beyond the rectangular size of the yoga mat.
In this article, you will find my tips on 6 easy ways to apply yoga in your daily life to stay calm, connected, and joyful.
Table of Contents
Wake up in the morning when your mind is fresh. Sit quiet and find your mantra of the day. Your personal mantra is unique, it is what your thought desire (so speak to yourself to find it out.)
For example, today my mantra is "be present" so I will try to be present in everything that I do whether working on my laptop or cook my meal. Another day when I want to focus on improving productivity I ask myself "What is the 20% input that results in 80% output" and use mantra "stay focus" to put priority on the most important tasks.
Repeating your mantra several times during the day is a good way to practice yoga off the mat. It helps you to stay focused on what matters the most rather than dwelling on negative thoughts.
Pranayama (Breathing) is an excellent way to calm your mind and lift your mood. The word "Pranayama" means breath control in Sanskrit, a form of yoga breathing technique is to help people feel better.
Anytime you are facing difficult situations like you get stuck in traffic jams practice breathing. Feeling nervous when speaking in front of the crowd practice breathing. Getting negative feedback from others, breathe in and out slowly until you feel calm, and repeat your personal mantra.
Remember to practice breathing several times of the day and notice how different you feel.
One study found people who wrote about what they were thankful for had higher levels of optimism than those who didn’t write anything at all.
To practice gratitude, take your time in the early morning to write about things that you feel grateful for. If every day seems too much, doing it once a week is fine too.
Today I am grateful for... being safe and healthy, being loved, receiving an unexpected gift from a friend. Sometimes I don't just write it in my gratitude notebook but also send a thank you message to others.
If you don't have time to write, make a prayer hand and bring it to your heart. Close your eyes and think about someone who has treated you nicely and thank them mentally.
Be kind to yourself and others.
One of the biggest lessons that yoga has taught me is to be kind to myself. I’m not perfect, and neither are you! We all have days where we feel let down and days when our energy is low; this is completely normal.
I want to related to The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz to remind me of being kind.
Know that every word we speak can leave someone feel better or worse - both situations can happen without us knowing it! If we don't choose our words carefully, what we say comes back around us and leaves negative thoughts. So I try not to speak ill of somebody and avoid gossiping to keep a peaceful mind.
If you offer service and face a situation when customers leave negative comments or criticism or are rude towards you, try not to take things personally. They may have a bad day at work.
If you're not careful, you're likely to make a lot of incorrect judgments about people. So, try to avoid forming opinions about others. The best way to figure things out is to ask them directly.
We aren't perfect but we can always learn from our mistakes and do better next time. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you make a mistake or something doesn’t work out as planned. Accept that failure will happen along the way of achieving your goals.
Be mindful of our thoughts, words, and actions because they affect not only ourselves but other people in our lives. Become aware of negative thoughts arising so that you can acknowledge them, accept them and eventually let go.
I remember doing one of Fightmaster's yoga sessions. She ends the class by saying, "Bring your hand to your head and remind you of beautiful thoughts. Bring your hand to your mouth and remind you of beautiful words. Bring your hand to your heart and remind you of beautiful intention."
There's no other method of decluttering that works for me like the Konmari Method. It does not follow a strict rule but is very personal: "Keep things that bring us joy and discard the rest."
When you hold an item, does it spark joy? if yes, consider keeping it. If not, let go of it. (And don't forget to say thank you to an item before setting it aside.)
There are plenty of ways to incorporate yoga principles into our daily lives. I just named a few that work for me the most.
Share with me below how you have been practicing yoga off the mat? Whether it is leaving your phone aside when talking to a friend, breathing deeply before making tough decisions, taking up a hobby that makes you happy, or meditating while listening to music.
I would love to hear about other ways too!
Yen Dinh is a software engineer, writer and the founder of YogaAwaken. She has been practicing yoga for 10 years and she loves it! In her free time, Yen likes to work online as well as spend time with her daughter.
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