April 20, 2012

Alignment: Body, Mind & Spirit. ~ Cat O’Connor


In Yoga class, you will often hear teachers speak about alignment: align your knees over ankles, hips over knees; align your back foot with the back edge of the mat, etc.

Proper anatomical alignment is crucial to a safe, fulfilling practice. Taking this off the mat, I would suggest that emotional and mental alignment is also crucial to a rich and fulfilling life.

Consider: Dis-alignment = Dis-ease in body, in mind, in spirit.

If your body is not aligned, oxygen, blood and energy are not able to flow with ease, putting stress on the physical and subtle body.

As with your body, when your thoughts, behaviours and actions are out of alignment with your values, beliefs and life goals, stress is put on you mentally, emotionally and physically leading to dis-ease, discontentment and increased discomfort.

The symptoms of being out of alignment are many—some subtle, some glaringly obvious: physical pain or discomfort, anxiety, stress, lack of sleep, food cravings, lethargy, complacency and self-criticism.

The list goes on. Does this resonate with you?

It sure does with me at times. The more I practice yoga, the more in tune I get to my own alignment or lack thereof. I am coming to better recognize what can trigger my alignment ‘derailment’ (my daughter’s morning routine of ‘self-expression through non-listening is a biggie) and with this recognition comes a level of control to help me better cope through the stress (this, of course, is a work in progress, just ask my daughters).

If you are feeling a little off the tracks, here are a few recommendations for staying on or getting on the rails of body, mind and spiritual alignment:

1. Patience: Nothing needs to be forced. Whether on or off the mat, know that you are exactly where you need to be. Find your flow within your yoga asanas and be patient and present.

2. Kindness: Practice kindness with self and others. This will create alignment between personal values and actions.

3. Action: Take it. Define your goals. Write them down. Create an action plan to move you towards them. If you are moving in the direction of your life purpose, you are fulfilling your life purpose. This is alignment.

4. Let go: Take action, while letting go of the outcome. Loving action, for the sake of loving action.

5. Give: Give your time, your talent and your treasure. The more you give, the more you get. Dis-ease turns to ease.

6. Express: Express yourself through your yoga practice, your words, your writing or whatever method you choose for self-expression… find your light and let it shine!

7. Practice: All of the above; over, and over, and over again.

With loving kindness, Namaste.

Read more: Hanging in the Balance.

Cat O’Connor is a student of Yoga, writing, motherhood, and life; currently following her Dharma through writing and offering yoga, with the intention of making yoga accessible to all. Namaste. Twitter: @YogaCat4life. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/YogaCat4life



Prepared by Soumyajeet Chattaraj/Edited by Tanya L. Markul

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