“Much of [Yoga/Meditation] practice is remembering, remembering the breath, remembering to be mindful, remembering our true nature and remembering the space it is all floating in”
Stephen Levine, from “Guided Meditations, Explorations, and Healings”, Anchor Books, p172
Sometimes the difference between an agitated and stressful experience and one of calm, ease and even joy can be to “take a moment, take a breath” as you enter into challenging situations. As most of us realize remembering to do this is the thing, of course, This ability to remember what we need in these moments can be the fruit of our consistent and persistent a Yoga and Meditation practice.
As life gets complicated and the changes of life mount we can get bogged down with the emotional physical and mental residue of all the gains and losses we have experienced. In these situations memories, accrued tensions and negative beliefs can create emergencies where there are none and hopelessness where possibilities once could easily be seen.
One of the most fundamental aims of a Yoga and Meditation practice is to work across all aspects of ourselves at once to create the physical, energetic and mental/emotional self that can thrive amidst the changes life brings. I often encourage those who can’t find time to “do their Yoga” that in a balanced and skillful practice we often re-gain the time spent working on ourselves in increased efficiency, clear mental and physical abilities to get their life’s obligations completed.
Still, at times in our lives, the demands on our time and energies presented by our commitments and obligations fluctuate significantly. A vital and supportive practice can and ought to adjust to these changes. However, a bedrock of strong commitment to yourself can help assure that the thread of your practice can remain, despite the changing forms it may take at different times of the year and seasons of your life
After all, for some doing a once or twice a week Yoga class or at home session is better than letting everything go because doing the habitual six or seven days a week practice has become untenable. For others, a simple five to fifteen minutes of quiet sitting meditation or remembering to do a simple breath awareness or meditations may supplant a more extensive practice at busier times. Developing these or other simple ways to remain connected to your deeper self and be of great comfort when at times your life’s business has gotten in the way of some deeper involvement in your personal practice.
It is true that for the larger aims and intentions of our work in Yoga our progress is determined to a degree by the extent of the effort we put into it. Still, Yogis remind us that even one step moving toward truth is rewarded in kind by even greater connection to that which we seek in practice. For example, both positive and more challenging aspects of our lives can come forward at the time such as the holiday season or in re-configuring our lives when weddings, school, children enter the mix. The more we come to realize that the symptoms of stress and our response to them are important factors in how well we enjoy our experiences, our yoga and meditation have borne important fruit in terms of keeping our sense of balance and equanimity regardless of external circumstances.
Therefore, having cultivated a regular Yoga practice previously can support us in times when the opportunity to practice is reduced in time and scope. The essence of our ongoing practice sustains us as we a have built helps reservoir of physical strength and tone as well as the deepened access to inner energy and calm. Most importantly, as Levine attests, our better habits can lead us more consistently take moments toward remembering our true nature and remembering the space it is all floating in”.
It is important not to minimize the effect of any of our efforts to remain on board with some sort of Yoga, meditation or self-care practice as time and circumstance close in on us. Yoga students can realize that formal practice can wax and wane but the thread that remains can be nurtured in the most challenging times. Keeping practice alive in challenging times helps us survive and thrive through difficulties and leads us back to a stronger immersion as times and circumstance permit.