I’m Busy, What Can Yoga Do for Me?

July 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

We’ve all heard that practicing yoga is good for our health. We need more breathing, more stretching, more strengthening the body and more opening of the heart and mind. Yet it’s still difficult to get our bodies to the yoga mat or class. Maybe these words can help.

I’m Busy, What Can Yoga Do for Me?

Tree FDRLately we all feel busy. It’s become the national joke. Everyone is busy and nothing is getting done. Often the feeling of being busy, or too busy, or overwhelmed, or anxious is quite uncomfortable. There’s nothing wrong with being busy, but it’s important that we learn to balance our energies, establishing and maintaining a balance between doing too much and not doing enough.

There’s an old story of a guy named Gautama. He was known as a wise man so often folks would come to him with questions. They usually came because they so wanted to find out the answer and it was feeling just out of reach. One day a musician came to see Gautama. He played a beautiful song for the guru on his stringed instrument called the sitar.

When he finished his performance the Sitar Player asked,

“Oh Wise One, how does one hold the mind during times of difficulty, or ease, during life’s ups and downs; how does one hold one’s mind in meditation?”

The Wise One smiled and pointed to the Sitar Player’s instrument,

“How do you tune your instrument, my friend?”

“Oh I tune my sitar every day. I listen and touch each string to make sure they sound just right. If it’s too loose the sound is dull. If it’s too tight the sound is sharp. I tune my instrument so that the strings are not too tight and not too loose.”

So said the Sitar Player to the Buddha.

“Not too tight and not too loose,” repeated the Wise One known as Buddha. “That is how one can hold the mind in life’s meditation.”

Oak-tree In yoga practice we get to know our personal tendencies. Are you more likely to tend toward “too tight” or “too loose”? Do you over-effort or do you slack off? Do you relish relaxation or exertion?

Making time for self-care is an important commitment in our busy times. Yoga can become a welcome respite from the storms of a busy life. The mat is our playground in getting to know and like ourselves.

By embracing the difficult, challenges aspects of our yoga practice as well as the wild successes and achievements we learn to balance. In Tree Pose, we start with one foot hovering off the floor, then we learn how to bring the foot into the other leg, first at the calf, then up higher on the inside of the thigh.

We learn to engage our inner corset, the muscles of our core which support the torso gracefully and flexibly.

Tree BackWe start to balance more fully on the standing leg, noticing all the minute movements in the foot to maintain stability.

Then we lift arms, lift gaze up to the sky above.

We start to find balance looking up at the infinite view of possibility, joining earth and sky, joining reality and aspiration, joining body, heart and mind.

The word “yoga” means to yoke, to unite, to join together. How would our lives look if we were able to join together our dreams and our effort, our love and our sorrow, our intellect and our emotions? Get on the yoga mat and we’ll see if we can find out.

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