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How Yoga Can Extend Beyond Daily Downward Dog

Courtesy of tuja wellness (www.tujawellness.com)

If you had more hours in the day, there’s no question that some of them would go towards your yoga practice.

Rather than separating your laundry into whites and darks, you have separated it into yoga clothes and everything else. Your Sanskrit is on point (eka pada what?). You love your asana and it loves you back.

Bring more yoga into your day – without a single pose – by incorporating the teachings of yoga into your everyday life.

1. Discipline.

We love the saying, “the way you do one thing is how you do everything.” When we are disciplined with our yoga practice, this often carries over into our everyday life. Same goes if we’re a little lazy and decide to skip our favourite class for The Bachelorette.

Ask yourself: what other practices in your life could use a little discipline? Do you back away from a challenge, spend too much time on Instagram, at work, or break plans with friends too often? What do these habits tell you about yourself? Do these patterns crop up in other places in your life? Yoga philosophy shines a light on who we are.

It’s not about perfection, but about awareness.

2. Compassion

We hear it all the time from our yoga teachers: “Practice kindness towards yourself – physically and mentally 🖤.” In the yoga room it may feel easy to do, but try to take the message of these words to the rest of your life (like the commute on the way home).

Love yourself if you make a mistake. Recognize that you are human when things don’t go according to your plans.

Then take it one step further: the next time you have a challenging interaction or conversation, remember that everyone is doing their best with what they’ve got. When we recognize our own imperfections we can cultivate more compassion for others (even if that person has cut you off in traffic).

3. Equanimity.

Yogis love this word. One of the blessings of a dedicated yoga practice is a steady and equanimous mind. You might be aware of this mind when you’re able to react equally to a pose you love, like child’s pose, and one that challenges you, like headstand.

Taking this concept off the mat is life changing. When life feels topsy-turvy and you’re clinging to the past, try repeating this mantraEverything changes. These two simple words remind us that nothing is permanent and things are constantly shifting in and out of our favour. This simple observation cultivates steadiness of the mind, instead of agitation with, or attachment to, one’s bad or good circumstances.

4. Self-Study.

Yoga is synonymous with self-awareness. Your monkey mind is pretty set on keeping you engaged with your “to-do” list (Have you booked your teeth cleaning? Called your mother? Answered that email?). Finding moments of soothing our inner monkey can help us to listen to what is really going on.

When you aren’t your calm, lululemon-wearing self, what are your thought patterns, habits and emotional triggers? Ask yourself: do you know your crazy?

Maybe you have type A-itis, a fear of commitment or success, or maybe you’re a little lazy. We use self-study to get to know ourselves deeper so that we can continue to grow and learn.

5. Contentment.

Life is happening now. Not when you achieve that yoga posture, or when you get a raise or when you meet the man or lady of your dreams or when you have a baby. Learning to appreciate what we have NOW is key to happiness.

Do yourself a favour and list 25 things that you want in your life (goals, experiences, material items, etc.) The catch? Half of those items must be things you already have right NOW. Imagine if you had written that list ten years ago: you have accomplished so much!

If we keep moving forward, we can’t revel in what is. Tell us you don’t feel more content and grateful after that.

A yogi points to a practitioner of yoga, sure, but it also indicates a high level of spiritual insight. The latter comes when you come off the mat and notice who you really are in the world.

Soon you can say you “do yoga” 24 hours a day, or at the very least, all of your waking hours.