How do you start and end your day?
What are the first thoughts that stroll into your head…when you roll out of bed every morning?
And what are your last feelings and thoughts as you sink into slumber every night?
As human beings, our natural tendencies are to fall back into selfishness, pride, insecurity and attachment. As long as we are human, we cannot escape these human natures. That is why we have an inclination to get sucked into drama, either on the media, or in real life.
We also have a vulnerable physical body that gets worn out with age. We inevitably feel aches and pains after middle age. With this body, we are fragile because when if we become sick, our emotions are affected negatively, our mind gets clouded.
Yoga is a wonderful tool to help us manage these human tendencies. Hatha Yoga helps us keep our body clean and strong, Pranayama and Mantra helps us see through our emotions and sort out confusing thoughts, Meditation helps us become present with ourselves, and connects us to God.
Yoga itself do not promote any specific religious traditions, but it is a spiritual discipline. In traditional Indian ashrams where we learn Yoga, we are encouraged to use the practice to help us deepen the faith in our chosen religious path – if we have one. If not, we are encouraged to focus on God, the Divine or Supreme One, often referred to as Bhrama in the holy scriptures.
There are a total of 10 mini-precepts outlined as fundamental behavior moderators under the practice of Yoga. The more I study and use Yoga, the more I fall in love with them. Today my email centers around Samtosha (which means being happy with what we have).
Samtosha is very interesting – I like to think of it as more than contentment (a popular translation), more like a form of gratitude. It is having appreciation for things that are going well in our life. The truth is, if we don’t remind ourselves of the good, if we keep focussing on things that are bad, situations that are not working out, or if we find something to complain about everyday, we are only going to attract more of these kind.
As humans, we tend to take things for granted. You and I included. Sometimes I catch myself thinking negative thoughts, and I immediately imagine – if I’d woken up today to find that I couldn’t walk, or couldn’t see or hear, how would I feel? Straight away I felt grateful for my functional body!
Reminding ourselves to be grateful for the good things and good people in life, keeps us charged with energy. The definition of appreciation means ‘to increase the value of’. Whatever we appreciate in life tends to amplify.
When we practice appreciation, (even when sometimes it is really difficult to!) more good things happen for us to appreciate. In addition to this, we also become more compassionate, more loving towards those around us, less angry, happier…and healthier!
Besides starting and ending my day with gratitude meditation, I bring it into all the classes that I teach. Whether on land or in the water, I close every class with a short observation of silence, and meditating upon gratitude.
Try this on… Upon waking, spend a few minutes remembering all the good things you appreciate about your life. And before bedtime, give thanks for the things that went well that day. Never go to sleep angry, anxious or frustrated. Even if it is a horrible day and you can’t seem to find anything to be grateful for, at least try to be grateful that you have a comfortable bed to rest in…
I believe this contributes to a strong spiritual foundation. It is an important component of good physical and mental health.
So my recommendation to you is to start a practice of daily appreciation, upon waking and right before bedtime.
If you know of someone who would benefit from this, share with them! Help us make this world a happier, friendlier and kinder place 🙂
What I am teaching you to do in this email, is something counter-intuitive, and rather unnatural based on societal standards. Our teachers in school never teach that, parents seldom teach that, and least of all the media. But I’d dare to throw you this challenge.
Do this for 30 days, and I assure you that there will be a powerful positive shift of mental state. Everyone around you will feel it, and you of all will start to make the right choices, right actions, resulting in a happier and more fulfilling life.
Time to resume practice? Let your practice take you back to feeling light, calm and clarity of life direction.
Experience Transformational Yoga with me and start noticing results right away! Reply to this email with your name and contact number to enquire Transformational Yoga details.
Or take up Aqua Yoga for a strain-free practice to relieve painful joints, start keeping fit and stay strong even as you age! You won’t regret it 🙂