Yoga & Therapeutic Movement

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Busy and still

Posted by Julie Andres on Monday, May 5, 2014 Under: yoga

The other day a visitor to my house paused to look at the colours of my early spring flowers and commented that I have a "green thumb". I love to grow things, that is certain, but success in gardening results from much more than being lucky enough to have good gardening "genes."

Without thinking I told her: "I have busy thumbs, that's all."

It's true--indoor and outdoor gardening are labour intensive. Knowledge is needed, but practical application is key. Thinning, pruning, weeding, staking, fertilizing, removing hungry insects or larvae--and myriad other tasks--each play a part.

As it is with gardening, so it is with yoga. The more care and attention that goes into practice, the more we flourish at all levels of being. A healthier body is the most immediate reward, then, with attention to awareness of thoughts, a calmer mind begins to emerge from underneath the chaos of the cittavrttis, the fluctuations of consciousness*. As pranayama practice develops we notice that our breath flows more smoothly and can help guide us to a state of increased peacefulness whenever and wherever needed. And with contemplation / meditation a spiritual life emerges that gradually expands into a way of living from moment to moment, without the distractions of anxiety or regret.

How can we cultivate this progression when we have such busy lives--when we deal with stressful, complex issues, waves of emotions and memories, and ingrained habits of thinking, eating, and behaving that don't serve us well--not to mention falsely held beliefs that cause resistance or even immobilize us? What can we do?

A few basics:

  • Develop the ability to sit
  • Regulate breathing through pranayama
  • Focus mentally and pay attention
  • Stay courageous and positive

The Katha Upanishad tells us:

"When the five senses and the mind are still,
and reason itself rests in silence,
then begins the Path Supreme.
This calm steadiness is called Yoga.
Then, one should be watchful,
because Yoga comes and goes."**

Illumination and healing come from within.
We must keep at it.

Our gardens thrive when our thumbs are busy.

* Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, I.2
** The Upanishads, Juan Mascaro, Penguin Classics,1965; Katha Upanishad, Part 6, pp. 65, 66.

In : yoga 

Tags: santosha  stillness  silence  meditation  yoga  tapas 

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