As autumn approaches along the Connecticut Shoreline many find themselves having to again re-configure their lives to a new season of changing responsibility and activity. Adjusting our Yoga, meditation or other self care practices as responsibilities change provides another opportunity to consider and re-value the benefits our Yoga practice can have in all phases of life. As the years progress I believe that our notion of fitness is one of the first things that needs to evolve in order to meet challenges of changing lives and changing bodies. Keeping flexible bodies and supple attitudes can be a challenge as time goes by. Still, keeping awake to the need to adapt is, in my opinion, the crux of healthy living. As Steven Levine has said in his masterful book on meditation and mindfulness “A Gradual Awakening”, “Indeed, if we were to try to find a single truth all could agree on, it would perhaps be that everything changes.” As habits become ingrained in our minds and bodies our tolerance to personal change, and thus to the flow of life’s changes can diminish.
If you consider for a moment the Yogic perspective that the very definition of stress is “resistance to what is” then our inability to respond to life’s changes can be seen to be the root cause of a turbulent and stress filled existence. An effective Yoga practice can help us meet many of our physical and mental fitness goals, it can make us more stress resistant by the fact we are working the body, mind and consciousness at the same time. We can choose the level physical challenge by in a general way selecting a class that addresses our general desires and needs—basic, open, flow, Kundalini classes all have differing levels of physical and energetic challenges.
From this fundamental choice we can, in each session and moment, choose the experience we will create. This freedom to choose can seem to be a lost art. A good deal of the joy in Yoga can be its re-discovery and practice on the mat and in our lives!
Through Yoga I believe we may become a stronger container for the vicissitudes of life, less reactive to the slings and arrows of our fortunes and more awake to life solutions as they present themselves. This approach to practice offers the possibility of taking us toward the greatest benefits Yoga offers, the growth toward more authentic, vital and joyful lives; leaving behind the empty and often destructive habits and ways of being that have long outlived their usefulness.