The first question came in this morning for my new "If You Ask Me, A Yogi" column is from a Californian named Christina who asked: "I have been a certified yoga teacher for a little over five years and have fallen off the personal practice wagon. Why does this happen and what can I do to get myself back to a daily yoga practice?"
Great question Christina! I think anyone practicing Yoga can agree that this happens more often than not. We "fall off the personal practice wagon" for many reasons. Sometimes our work schedules keep us in the office or in front of our screens long into the evenings. Perhaps we have health issues that challenge us to get onto our yoga mat and do a physical practice. Maybe you are a caregiver who is simply too exhausted to do even one more tiny thing! For all of these reasons and thousands more, we fall out of a regular, personal practice. However, for all of these reasons and a thousand more, THOSE are the times we need our practice the most.
WAIT! Don't leave yet! I'm going to give you just a few simple ideas for you to begin with even if you feel you have no time or space in your life for a personal practice, not even one minute! Believe me, you do and you'll be pleasantly pleased how these simple yoga practices will impact you in a deep way, integrating what needs to be integrated and with little or no effort on your part.
Let me first briefly share, and by briefly I mean I'm going to post a picture and add a link where you can learn more information on the subject of Yoga as an Eight Limbed Path. Link: https://www.ekhartyoga.com/articles/practice/the-8-limbs-of-yoga-explained
The point of this image and link to the online article by EkhartYoga, is to share that the word "Yoga" as seen as poses in the West, has a depth that goes far beyond poses and sitting in meditation. The development of yoga can be traced back to over 5,000 years ago, but some researchers think that yoga may be up to 10,000 years old old. Yoga's long rich history allows a map for human development, evolution as a species as well as personal evolution of the consciousness of the mind and body complex which we reside in from the moment we are born to our first last breath as a human being. Moving on...
Now that you may have a slightly different perspective on the word Yoga and yoga's true meaning, let me share just a couple of practices you can do to get started.
First, let's begin with "Self-Talk." Self-talk can come in many forms, from looking in the mirror each morning and saying, "Dam girl, you are looking bright and light and full of peace this morning," to "Dam girl, you are looking a bit worn out and exhausted today, you better not leave this house looking like this." Seem harmless? Did you know, that any persistent thought patterns coming from what yogis call the Bliss body are continuously moving from the subtle to the gross to affect the Physical body. In "New to Yoga Talk," that means that what we repeatedly think with conviction and feeling can eventually materialize in the Physical body. What? This is not only a Yogic belief but also what science tells us. A study done at UCLA measured immune markers of method actors who fully embodied various emotions for an entire day as part of their job as actors and actresses. One group of method actors portrayed characters who were happy, helpful and optimistic in their roles while the other group portrayed characters whose personas were sad, negative, bullies, and had heavy emotions as part of the roles they were playing. The results? At the end of just one day of embodying oppressive and negative emotions, significant declines in T-cell production were found, which are a critical part of a healthy immune system.
This one simply study shows the power that thoughts, feeling and emotions have on the body in relationship to the human experiences we are having. We all know that we each have a group of beliefs, thoughts, and actions that we latch on to and they repeat again and again in our mind, like a broken record. When these experiences come around again and again, we tend to hang on to them, gnaw on them and digest them into our bodies. I don't mean for a moment or two, but more often then not, for a lifetime in many causes. Especially when a traumatic and life-changing obstacle has come across our life path.
So what can we do about this? We need to tell our cells how to behave and in a particular way. Even if it seems fake or far-reaching, I've seen this work within myself and with many others that I've worked with over many years.
Please realize that I'm not suggesting that the only cause of disease is stemming from our thoughts. However, I am sharing that in my experience and in scientific studies, that the thoughts we have and revisit frequently DO have an influence on our personal health and well-being. An American psychologist Jeanne Achterberg published an article in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research found that after reviewing numerous research studies, that "the mind contributes the greatest variance to the course of health and that to ignore the role of mental factors in treatment of disease is a gross oversight."
My first suggestion for getting back into the many practices of Yoga is changing the way you talk to yourself. This seemingly easy, but honestly quite challenging practice can make some of the biggest impacts in your life. If you need a little more inspiration, check out this little gal, who obviously has some healthy T-cell production and most likely is quite healthy and happy!
Until next time, happy T-cell production and immune system boost! I think a fun challenge would be to see some of your positive and inspirational self-talk videos! If you have some positive intentions to share, please pose below or send your video to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can post it for you.
Happy Self-Talk time. You can make space for this simple, yet profound practice throughout your day. A sample schedule may look like this:
Peaceful World Yoga is holding a Yoga Workshop titled: Empowering Your Personal Practice in January 2019. Please join us for this journey of self-discovering and transformation. This workshop is not limited to yoga teachers and students but to all human beings. Check out our Empower page by following this link: http://www.peacefulworldyoga.com/empower.html
ask a Yogi
Just a hippy girl, living a hippy life and handing out some free advice.