Recently I was sitting at LAX on my way to host a Holistic Yoga Flow workshop during which one of the discussion topics would be "yoga as a lifestyle." With the flight greatly delayed, I was provided with the opportunity to delve deeper into these seven essential yoga lifestyle habits:
1) Get Your Asana On!
If you don't use it, you lose it! Our bodies thrive off being challenged, and rigorous classes offer us the opportunity to utilize all the athletic muscles of strength, balance, flexibility, and stamina. Through a dynamic flow, we flush out the toxins and irrigate our life force through the “landscape of our bodies,” leaving us feeling awake and alive. Once we reach a certain age (usually in the early 30s), if we don't move our bodies regularly, muscles begin to atrophy. Be consistent, be regular and hook into the "Fountain of Youth" for a strong, supple body.
It's the goal of all yoga; it’s why the poses were created. The stillness and silence within meditation allow us to transcend from the form into the formless, from time into the timeless, and from the finite into the INFINITE. We all need a break from our busy minds. Move beyond the physical yoga, and carve out 15-30 minutes daily for a strong, peaceful mind.
3) Slow the F@%K Down
Hurry leads to worry, and we have a hurry epidemic plaguing our culture. Daily, we experience people driving, smoking, texting, and running a red light all while putting on makeup! Do you know how many horrible accidents are caused due to people rushing? Try and get the mind one-pointed and focus on one thing at a time. No matter how mundane the task seems, give it your full attention. As Thich Nhat Hanh teaches, wash each dish as you would a newborn baby.
4) Eat Well
You are what you eat, so eat foods rich in life force like plants, fruits, seeds, nuts, and whole grains. As much as possible, limit refined sugar, fried foods, processed foods, and stimulants like caffeine and alcohol. Eat moderate amounts so the stomach has sufficient room to process what you've eaten. Give your body the fuel
that it needs to fulfill all that's important to you.
5) Give, Give, Give
There is a universal law that the more you give the more you receive. Most people only give and love while expecting something in return... that's not called love; that's called a contract! When you give freely, it takes the attention away from your ego, opens the heart and raises your vibration.
6) Soak up Knowledge
Our five senses are constantly recording data that holistically becomes encoded into who we are. Read the sacred texts, watch enlightening documentaries, listen to inspiring music, and keep studying that which feeds your passion. The moment we stop learning is the moment we start withering away.
7) Good Company
There is strength in numbers. Let go of relationships that are toxic and surround yourself with like-minded people who will support you along your highest path. When you feel down, these relationships will be there to lift you up and keep you on the path.
When I arrived at our workshop over an hour late due to the flight delay, we discussed this list and one student asked if it was available on my website. I said, "Nope, but hopefully you'll see it up on MindBodyGreen next week!"
Follow all of these, or even just a few, and master the art of living. Share which ones are your strengths and which ones you'll need to work on.