August 11, 2011
Responding to Stress with a Yoga Brain
Yoga in its truest nature, is a psychosomatic (body-mind) practice. Everything about the practice changes, including the physical postures, when we approach Yoga from the mindset of simply being an observer of sensations that arise. A student’s posture in a Yoga pose reflects his or her emotional, psychological, and spiritual condition. The holistic practice of Yoga, actually transforms these aspects. On all levels, we keep in mind, that our practice will be different from day to day, and respect any limitations that may come up. This carries into all areas of our lives.
Part of the philosophy of yoga is that we can’t always change the world around us. No matter what we do, stressful situations arise and we will feel tested. The one thing we have control over, and can change, is our reaction to these situations. We can choose to allow them to throw us off balance, or take them in stride by acknowledging their existence, and sending them on their way. Even creating a sense of gratitude for these challenges, can instill a sense of contentment and personal growth. This mindset affects our practice both on and off the mat.
Yoga teaches us how to respond to stress patiently and to greet this resistance with grace. We must experience the physical challenge of the postures without fear, and use deep, calm breaths to move through them. Being aware of the unity of our practice both in class, and out, we realize our practice never ceases. By taking this lesson off the mat and into our daily lives, we will move closer to the goal of responding to stress in a caring, and loving way.