|Yoga with Ved|
|Yoga with Ved|
In this class we explore conscious activity and exercise. This is a part of weight management initiative. We have to learn about working the body and make a commitment to do so regularly. There is no getting around this fact. Good health and happiness go hand in hand with conscious activity.
Build your inner energy through activity.
When we engage in conscious activity and in working on our bodies it is an investment in ourselves. But I want us to understand that merely doing "work" is not enough. Many of us have jobs that require us to be physically active. When we are at these jobs we may be working the body and doing exercise, but this is not energy invested in ourselves. This is energy invested in the work that we are doing and in the world. It may or may not be supporting us in being more conscious.
What we need to be doing is focused activity, that is for us and for us alone. It is time that is spent working with our physical bodies in a conscious way, directing the energy inward and not away from us. The energy and time must be invested in ourselves, not in something outside. When we do this we will certainly see the results that we are looking for.
This investment of energy adds to the vital reserve that is within us. It continues adding to it. The more we invest the bigger that reserve gets and the more vital and full of life we feel. People who exercise regularly will often share the experience that they feel more energized and better on the days when they work out or go for their run. I have seen this in my own practice. It is because the energy is being added to that store of energy that is within us.
The greater that vital reserve the more we have to offer to life.
How can we be more conscious in our activity?
Being more conscious and being more mindful just means that we are giving greater attention to what we are doing. If I am working with the body then I want to be focused and attentive to the body. As I move my limbs and adjust my structure I want to feel what is happening. I want to experience each moment of movement. Through all of this the breathing is conscious and controlled. The mind is not distracted and I am open to whatever emotion arises, watching it carefully
This is how we can be more conscious in activity.
One of the simplest ways that we can get some conscious activity is in walking. Walking has so many health benefits and is the fundamental bodily activity, next to breathing. I have great ambitions of walking right up until the day it is time for me to leave this earth. Let us learn to walk consciously.
When we walk we should feel each breath that we take and manage our breathing process. Try to feel that you are breathing, that the lungs are moving, and the air is going in and out. We should be conscious of our balance and how our body is being held upright, easily and effortlessly. And in each step we should feel our connection through the leg and the support of the earth pressing back.
Of course for these classes we want to learn Yoga postures and physical yoga exercises to support our process. Yoga exercises are exceptional in training us to be more conscious on a very deep level. But we must be guided in the process. It is no good to approach the physical practice of yoga with the same mentality of other physical exercise. We will miss the deeper benefits that it offers.
The physical practice of Yoga.
Yoga is not just the physical forms that we take on with the body. We may be making a shape or a posture with the body, that does not necessarily mean that it is yoga. If we are working with the body, stretching the body, and making shapes with the body but we are not conscious and not directing the experience in a particular way, then it is not yoga.
Let us talk briefly about the practice of yoga postures.
Firstly we have to work towards physical alignment of the posture. This means that need to have an awareness of our body and know how to position the body appropriately. It is not simply a matter of mimicking what we see. Because what we see out there in others' postures may not be the best alignment for the present state of our body. It requires us to really feel the body and experience the body with great depth. From that awareness we work with the body to come into the best "form" of the posture that is possible for us.
Secondly our breathing must be conscious. This means that we are not breathing in an uncontrolled way. We have to purposefully inhale and exhale, using the fullness of our lungs, and manage the breathing process. The point of this is to break old breathing habits. As we may have a tendency to hold our breath when our body is a certain way. We always want the breath to be flowing in and out, never holding the breath unless we are directed to do so.
Thirdly the mind and heart, the internal workings of who we are, need to be aligned. Not only must the body be positioned a certain way. The mind and heart should be as well. Our hearts should be open to experiencing. Open to feel and reveal what we are carrying. Open to discover how we feel and how we operate emotionally. The mind should be focused and free. Not distracted but very curious about the present experience.
And finally, we need to be conscious that there is more than the physical. This requires expert guidance. Only someone who experiences and is aware beyond the physical can help us to tune into what is beyond. We are opening up to the possibility of energy awareness in our practice.
The fruits of our labour