We are restless, wandering, distracted creatures. We speed to yoga class, get frustrated by the annoying person in front of us who clearly doesn’t know how to merge in traffic, text and check our emails only moments before we arrive on our mats. We push through each pose, so that we can rest in savasana with a sense of accomplishment. Finally we can be still, mind, body and soul for five whole minutes. We say our namastes and then we race back to the car, eyes focused on our phone, walking and texting our way from the yoga studio to the car as we head to our next destination.
For many of us, yoga is a practice that lasts from the beginning to the end of class. We take with us the afterglow of our practice, yet we continue to rush through the rest of our lives. Stillness is not something we have time for. But, sometimes stillness is the most productive action we can take.
If we sit with an increasing stillness of the body, and attune our mind to the sky or to the ocean or to the myriad stars at night, or any other indicators of vastness, the mind gradually stills and the heart is filled with quiet joy. Also recalling our own experiences in which we acted generously or with compassion for the simple delight of it without expectation of any gain can give us more confidence in the existence of a deeper goodness from which we may deviate. —-Ravi Ravindra, The Wisdom of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras
Many practice yoga for the physical benefits, which is great. The rigorous asana is key to helping us focus the mind by allowing us to reconnect with ourselves and find peace in the sound of breath. But the next time you rest in child’s pose or relax into your final savasana, see if you can find gratitude somewhere within the rise and fall of our breath. See if you can find rest in knowing the universe is greater than all of your plans and ideas. And when you roll up your mat, leave the class slowly. See if you can notice your breath throughout the day and pause, setting aside the constant activity of your mind and your day planner, and enjoy stillness.