We’ve all done it.
You scramble out of the office, barely saying goodbye to anyone and just jump in your car. You throw a fit when someone is actually going the speed limit. Once you arrive at your neighborhood yoga studio, you can’t find any close parking. If only you didn’t have to take that call right before you left the office.
You are finally inside, and you become irritated by the receptionist. She seems to be having an issue with the fellow yoga lover three yoga enthusiasts ahead of you. Hmm—wonder if you have time to change and then come back? No, you stay put as you become more and more annoyed. You know that if you were behind that counter it would be done by now.
Finally, it’s your turn to check-in. You start out by giving a tiny scowl, but slowly warm up as you see she’s new and learning. You are off! If anyone gets in your way, you are sure to knock them over as you head to change. Oh wait, you need to get your mat down in the studio before someone takes your corner spot. Yes, it is your spot and all should know this. You get your mat down in some other random spot as you cause a mini scene knowing full well you can’t claim a spot as your own.
You go change, fill up your water bottle and finally come back to your mat and lay in savasana (corpse’s pose) until class begins. Of course, all you can think about is that guy who took your yoga spot and that lady who cut you off on your way here. Oh and don’t forget about the receptionist! How can you even begin meditating with all these annoyances, especially that group of people chatting over on the opposite side of the studio? You wonder if anyone has manners anymore.
Once class begins, you become transformed and forget about the nonsense you were just worrying about. You begin to realize why you rushed to get to class. You made it a point to get to the studio because you are trying to see the best in people, you are trying to remember that honking at the car in the fast lane isn’t always the best solution, you know the receptionist was new and should be given a break and most importantly, you know that part of yoga is learning to go with the flow.
So often, individuals get wrapped up in looking like a yogi without realizing yoga is all around us. By taking the first two limbs of Pantanjali’s Eight-Limbed Path, yamas (actions towards others) and niyamas (actions towards yourself), you will see that you don’t have to understand Sanskrit, but simply stay present to your everyday actions.
Lets take the opening example. Instead of rushing out of the office, why not simply be honest with your boss or co-workers that you need to attend yoga class, so please be respectful that you need to leave right at five? That’s practicing a yama.
Instead of yelling at the car that pulls in front of you while driving to the studio, why not wave or send over a polite smile as maybe they are having a worse day than you? That’s practicing a yama.
Realizing that particular yoga space in that studio you always visit, isn’t yours as you don’t own that shared space. That’s practicing a yama.
Next time you begin beating yourself up for being late to yoga class, stop and relish the fact you came to the studio. Take pleasure in knowing you are dedicated to take care of yourself and are trying. That’s practicing a niyama.
Instead of stopping by a fast food chain on your way home, why not stop and pick up some fresh vegetables for a healthy stir-fry? That’s practicing a niyama.
Rather than letting your day get the best of you and allowing work, school, friends or family’s negativity take the best out of you, why not realize life is filled with its ups and downs? That’s practicing a niyama.
You see, you don’t need to be an expert in Sanskrit or yoga philosophy to practice yoga throughout your daily life. Just do what you can when you can as it all adds up.
editor: Greg Eckard
Aimee Hoefler, RYT, continually strives to learn and push her own boundaries through writing books, traveling the world and helping others become empowered. Life is what you make of it, so might as well live without regrets. Learn more at www.aimeehoefler.com.