a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Practice Yoga…and then what?

by Tao Oliveto

By now, we’ve all heard about the many benefits of a consistent yoga practice – calmer mind, healthier organs, detoxification, better digestion and sleep, balanced nervous and hormonal system, muscle flexibility and strength, stronger core, back and joints. And I can tell you from both my practice and teaching experience, that all this can be realized through regular practice of a reputable system of yoga.

But, can yoga really make life easier? Well, yes and no. Obviously, all of the above things can make you fell a heckuva lot better than the average, non-yoga person. Still, yoga cannot make the outside problems and harsh realities of life vanish. So, while yoga does not make life easier, it does make you easier with life. “Through a regular yoga practice, we become less hindered by our past and less invested in our fantasies”, says Donna Farhi, one of America’s most respected yoga teachers and author. Practice gives you direct access to an inner place of grounding and presence which can allow us to stop feeling overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions stirred up by daily events and relationships. In this space of stillness, we can find more acceptance and listen to the messages and wisdom that come from the mind and heart working together.

Now that we have our sh** together, what about the world “out there”? It is difficult not to experience periods of hopelessness in the midst of the world’s suffering and uncertainty. Yet, be hopeful we must, as well as find the things that we can do to be part of world change in both small and large ways. Ultimately, more people finding hope and peace will have an effect on the world. So, just how do we get there? Here’s some ideas:

1. Have hope about the future even while accepting uncertainty. Share that hope in some way each day. Discover valid reasons why we can expect good things to happen and tell others.

2. Develop your awareness. Live with continually increasing openness and sensitivity towards others, the earth, animals and yourself.

3. Do a lifestyle check. What are the consequences of the way you live and consume natural resources? What could you, your workplace, your business, be doing differently?

4. Contribute to a cause outside yourself. We have a big job ahead of us and it will take everyone to get it done. Resist the temptation to sit back and wait. Become pro-active in your life and community.

5. Stay informed (but not always from television news). Turn to less sensational news sources, read and talk to others.

5. Send out positive, life-changing energy. Choose a mantra or a prayer of your own and repeat it to yourself several times a day.

6. Smile and breathe.It’s o.k. to find a happy, peaceful place inside yourself. Go there to heal and restore when you need to. Laugh, entertain each other and have some fun. The people around you will benefit and you will be able to accomplish more.

7. Keep practicing yoga daily. It makes all the above possible.

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