"Yoga for the Road:" Take your practice anywhere!

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by Kali Ray Torres, Yoga Instructor

azfamily.com

Posted on August 30, 2010 at 6:20 PM

"Yoga is not only the form or posture, but how we come to what we do; not just the movement, but the intention behind it. This is the yoga off the mat. The yoga that causes the ripple of lightness in the waves of our lives. Those courageous enough to dig deep...source the power of within...and watch the changes ...blossom all around them. You are grace, raw power and potential. What will you do with such a gift?" -Kali Ray Torres
 
Being...in the "Here & Now." 
Do you move actively, playfully, vigorously and exercise your heart at least two to three times a week? If the answer to that is "NO." You are not only living less alive that you could be feeling, you are setting yourself up for dis-ease; stressed and unfit. Not only does stress lead to weight gain or loss of muscle tone, it builds up in your emotional body and ends up showing up as a moody swings, imbalances, what some might call, a mental mind-fogged mess. You deserve better than this. You deserve to feel your best and when you do, it shows! Forget the "ideal weight." Forget straining and trying too hard to get somewhere. Start your practice today...get HERE NOW. Take the first step: make a commitment you can keep. Even if you start with one day a week. Do it.
 
You are responsible for your health and well being. Are you ready to take a stand for your HEALTH? 
Again and again, I keep hearing the excuses: "I have been traveling," I "haven't had the time," "I gave up my gym membership to save money. Every time, that person with the excuses makes it back to class, they immediately tell me afterward how great they feel, the amazing changes that are happening personally or professionally just since they started coming again and how much they have missed it being a regular part of their life. Last week a student said, "I only wish, I had started this years ago." I hear that every day!!! So, I ask you, what is your excuse? What stops you from making yoga a regular part of your day? Why do you start doing something that is good for you and gives you that "feel good feeling," more confidence, better sleep at night, and reduces aches and pains...and then STOP? Hmmm...
 
What if there were no excuses? Say you had all the money you would ever need and more, all the time you would ever need and more and all the tools you could ever need to get you where you wanted to be? You may not believe me right away when I say this, but those resources are already WITHIN YOU:) What then? Well, this is where the capital P in Practice comes from and it doesn't stand for perfect. It is a place you invest and you know the saying, "you reap what you sow?" It's so true. To get that good yoga "mojo," you don't just come to the practice when you feel bad, worn out and run down. That's like praying to God only when you have a request or a breakdown or getting "dressed for the day" only to go to work or a party. Why can't you feel good, just to feel good? Why not look good just because it's a true expression of your health and wealth in body, mind and soul? Watch out! You may not be ready for the true YOU to be revealed just yet;) That's a whole other topic of worthiness, and let me just keep it simple: YES, YOU ARE WORTH IT. In the words Marianne Williamson:
 
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
[Often said to have been quoted in a speech by Nelson Mandela. The source is Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, Harper Collins, 1992. —Peter McLaughlin]
 
Many popular books on yoga and personal growth discuss the "Self" as the aspect of our being that allows us a deeper awareness and provides a reference point for how we expand beyond the binds of the mind by deepening our
awareness of the body. With this awareness, we begin moving into the more subtle realms of energy flow and reality. Now, I am not talking about any sort of "new-age" metaphysical hype. What I am talking about is energy usage and getting the most out of life. If you don't experience your best state of being now...when is a good time to start? Is there really, not enough time for YOU...to feel good!? You are never going to get all of those feel good feelings, the restorative feeling, the energy that allows you to wake up and feel great in a body you respect, unless you make it a regular practice. Yes that means you do it even when you don't feel like it.  As you take on a regular practice you will get more done(aahhh better use of time),  and see the benefits of good health that evolves from the time you put in. Sometimes less is more. Take a "time-out" for your Self and start a regular yoga practice today. Today, the capital S Self wakes you up and says, "Hey, what are you doing? I'm ready to feel wonderful, I deserve a chance to move, to play, to dance...and feel good.
 
In this digital age, human beings face the challenge of remembering that we are first organic. Yes, flesh and bone is organic structure;) Each of us are running around in the world, interacting with computers, cell phones, T.V.'s, radio waves, and so many different facets of technology. Increased exposure to these currents causes a shift in our integrated and balanced state.  It takes awareness to put the phone down, turn off the computer, roll out a mat and get to work and play on the mat whether it's in the beginning, middle or end of the day. Yet, the experienced practitioner, one who has made a habit of this, knows what it feels like to touch, taste, maybe even start to experience a regular state of blissfulness or a heightened state of being even while at work. What!? "Bliss??," you say. Like this is something reserved for sweet treats and kisses;) Yes, bliss is our birth right. And if you are not in the "know" about what many call..."yoga mojo," it's waiting for you...you just have to accept the invitation to try it...for ninety days. You know what they say about starting a new habit, it takes at least 120 days to make it permanent. How bad do you want to feel good?:)
 
 
Growing up in the "ready made" society, where everything seems to be pre-packaged in plastic, hmm, something seems a little disconnected to the long term damage of this. We can make better choices. Watching how my peers, friends, and family are so on-the-go, I do understand that we are busy, but I don't understand why our culture has gotten into the habit of consuming so many sugary/fatty foods; foods that breed states of depression and disease. We have been so focused on getting somewhere, to work, to school, to this, to that, there's all these places to be, but how many people do you know who are really...truly present? Has distraction from being the moment (cell phones, Internet, ipods)bred a culture that cannot seem to sit still? It seems children even have a harder time than ever in our loud and sugar laden culture. I hardly call junk food a "time saver." More like a lifetime diminished (root word...to "dim" or weaken, impair). What a joke! Our "ready-made" culture costs us more in the long term in health care(www.diabetes.org) and our habits of just throwing out the plastic container has had severe effects on the environment. So...now what? How do we change practices that we have allowed to keep us stuck? How do we take the necessary steps and change when we have been so "comfortable" that we've ingrained unhealthy habits? How do we bring more awareness to our actions and how they effect the world within and around us? 
 
All it takes...is a few minutes each day.  
Start out with a morning practice and see where that takes you throughout the day. Start with ten minutes of Yoga, walking, dancing around the house;), ride a bike, get up and MOVE! Just make it a regular practice. Ten minutes can easily lead to thirty once you have gotten into action. All it takes is the first five minutes to switch the brain on and charge the body with prana(life force); a higher oxygenated state. Notice your mood, they way you feel in your body and your energy levels. Bring more awareness to your food choices. The more live foods you can eat the better! That means more fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds (Stay tuned for more on yoga and your diet soon). After a few weeks to a month, you will start to feel really great and want to do more. Do more:)!!! The key is to start slow; to make small changes that breed larger and larger results. This is the same for changing your diet. This is the same for any exercise. We cannot reverse the damage of pollution over night, but we can sure make a decision to car pool, or ride a bike. The question is, are YOU doing your part? We call this, the yoga off the mat. How are your actions effecting those around you? When you are in a better mood, how do you treat people? How do you feel about yourself? When you take care of yourself and take responsibility for your actions, you feel on purpose and empowered. You are worth every minute of time you spend supporting ease, balance, and inner health. This is true wealth. Take the short break to stretch at your desk. You are better off going slow and steady than running yourself into the ground. Pace yourself and drink plenty of water. You will see the changes as you start being them on a regular basis. Be patient.
 
There is no such thing as not enough TIME. 
You say, "I have to go to work, it's how I pay the bills." I say, you have to move your body, and eat healthy, it's how you invest in you! This is your livelihood. Once you have made a commitment, nothing gets in the way of you and your practice. Each and every day, you are given the opportunity to experience this life, what are you going to make of it? Time is a concept, yet you choose what to spend your hours focused upon. If you want to feel great, you must feel grateful. Full of gratitude is the attitude of a person who practices mindful awareness. Yoga is one way to achieve balance in body, in mind, and in spirit. When you body is in balance, your mind will follow suit. When your mind is in balance, your spirit will shine through all that you are and all that you do. It truly is that simple, but it's not always easy to keep this consistent. That is why I have taken the liberty to offer you some great options for an at home or on-the-road practice. That's right, you can practice your yoga anytime, anywhere. Once you have learned a few of the basic postures, you can start a regular practice when you get up in the morning.
 
I once heard a story about a woman who was so depressed she could hardly get out of bed in the morning, so she would put her yoga mat on the floor beside her bed at night. She would wear her comfortable yoga clothes to bead and wake up and literally roll out of bed and onto the floor! She started with a yoga DVD. She would put it into her laptop the night before, so that all she had to do was wake up and push a button. That began her practice on her own. She said this was the only way that she could start making it a regular habit and after a year it changed her life. She got off of all medications and anti-depressants and she is now a certified teacher helping others help themselves. This just goes to show how dramatic the difference can be in starting your practice. Not only does it have the power to lift your spirits, but you will notice that you are sharing that love, that light, that zest for life, and that energy will be felt by those around you. This feel good feeling is magnetic. What else are you ready to invite into your life? 
 
Committing to YOU 
If you have found that you are so focused on the needs of others (perhaps a mother, father, wife, husband, lover, friend, student, you name it, who hasn't been there!!!) before your own well being, consider that you ARE NOT giving what you could be giving. And what's that, you ask? 
 
Your best Self.
Inside each and everyone of us, there is a super amazing unique and powerful being. You have the ability to touch lives just by smiling at someone in the grocery store (can you imagine the ripple effect of your smile at a stranger who decided to also smile at a stranger and on and on?). We are living in an amazing time with the tools to communicate and reach one another on levels like never before! Yet, it is in our organic being, the part of us that simply acknowledges the living, breathing, everyday blood pumping energy that moves us and allows us to be...full-filled...yes, this energy(prana) is what sustains our every move and when we learn how to breathe conscious full breaths, we feel full...and we are full filled in the moment. This is one way people who do yoga learn to move through challenges including cravings for things we're better off without. Your fullfilment is only a breath away.
 
This is THE DAY. 
Do you think starting a regular yoga practice five days a week might effect your choices, like what you choose to put into your body, your mind, your heart, and even the company you keep? Once you start to feel great, you start making healthier choices. New opportunities are seen that you may not have been open to before. New ventures, new capital, new awareness. This is the ripple effect of YOU making one tiny investment of your time each day or several times a week. You begin taking responsibility for your own health and well being and start to enjoy the moment. Are you living in the now...ready to move and laugh, breathe...and gosh darn it...PLAY:)?!
 
 
YOU are the ONE you've been waiting for. 
Now get up and move...what are you waiting for!? I'll meet you around the bend, on the set of the show:) Now find a yoga class in your neighborhood, a DVD box set, a book, or buy my audio CD Yoga For the Road. Start your practice and take it with you on vacation, on that business trip, or to your friends house for a "play-date." You deserve to feel fabulous!
 
Ready, Set, Go! Check out: 
Kali Ray's audio CD's practice available at:  www.cdbaby.com/cd/kaliraytorres
 
One amazing teacher and his at home DVD: Yoga Journal: John Friend's Anusara Yoga Grand Gathering (3 DVD Set) (2009)  is available at www.amazon.com/Yoga-Journal-Friends-Anusara-Gathering/dp/B00263ZHPM
 
Yoga for Diabetes is available at www.amazon.com/Yoga-Diabetes-DVD-Dr-Sujatha/dp/B002BNFM7A
 
See you around the bend!

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