What is time, anyway? The answer: something we don’t have enough of certainly. You get up at 6 AM, take a shower, make breakfast, feed the dog, do the dishes, get in your car, take the kids to school, go to work for the next nine to ten hours, drive home, make dinner, take the kids to Gymnastics or Soccer or whatever the heck else they do, fold the laundry, organize for the next day, pick the kids up from Gymnastics or Soccer, help with homework, put the kids to bed. How could you possibly fit in an exercise class? You’re exhausted as it is. How could you possibly do one more thing?
Excuse #2: I don’t have time to do Yoga!
This is a tough one, and really not as lame as last month’s “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga.” Didn’t there used to be more time when we were younger? Who took hours away from the day? Why am I paying more attention to everyone else’s needs and ignoring myself? What happened?
A hypothesis: It’s become harder and harder to earn enough money to enable us to afford the lifestyle we’ve become accustomed to living. We seem to want more and more things, and therefore we need to work countless hours to earn the salary we feel we need in order to be comfortable. Our minds race a mile a minute during the day and we have restless nights worrying about the next day. Sheesh!
Are you tired yet? I’m exhausted just having written that! Here’s where yoga can help. If you can only get there:
Unlike other forms of physical exercise, practicing yoga keeps your mind in one place – in your body. Moving into yoga postures (asanas) and then holding them requires big concentration. You can’t be thinking about your laundry list and practice yoga at the same time. It doesn’t work. You fall down! Not that falling down is bad; I do it all the time in and out of Yoga class.
The practice of yoga allows you and your mind to let everything else go. It definitely gives me an excuse not to think about everything that bothers me, and given my heritage, everything bothers me! Practicing yoga also allows me to breathe through any hard times or thoughts. Once again, as I mentioned last month, if you can get through difficult postures in yoga class, you can get through sticky situations out there in the jungle. Yoga simply provides more space in the mind, which, in turn, provides more space in the day. It slows the whole life process down.
But how does this relate to not having enough time to get to a yoga class? Here’s the deal. If you drag yourself out of bed just once to get there, the effects are so profound and life changing that it’s hard to ignore, and you just might want to do it again. If you don’t do it the first time, you’ll never know. “Oh come now,” you’re saying as you roll your eyes clear to the back of your head. It’s true enough though. Students tell me time after time that their whole day or night was different because of what happened to them in class – that they appreciated everything a little more than before. I’m all about appreciating every moment these days. Time does go by so darn fast: too fast. The faster we charge through our lives, the faster time rushes by. I happen to like my life. I want to hold on to it for as long as I can.
How does practicing yoga slow it all down? Practicing encourages being in the here and now, staying present in this moment, not the moment that happened an hour ago or the one that hasn’t even happened yet. Why even go there? Do we think the next moment won’t happen if we don’t stress and fret about it in advance? What’s that all about?
About 20 years ago, the renowned Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was speaking about the meaning of life in an interview. The words that danced across his lips are ones that I will never forget. He replied to a question from his audience, which was “What is the meaning of life?” His answer was, “The first act of life is breathing in and you cry. The last act of life is breathing out and everyone else cries. In between is your life.” I’m dedicated to living the in-between to the fullest. What’s the rush?