Guest Author - Terri Johansen
Most people consider yoga practice as doing a set of poses. However, so many other things can be considered as yoga practice. One of the goals of practicing yoga is to find a place of peace within you. It can be anything that allows your mind to relax and stay in a state of calmness. When your mind is in this state it is open to the divine within you.
So how does this work?
•Try going for a walk. This is just a stroll not exercising. Be mindful of your steps. Take moments to look around. So often we don’t notice what is going on around us. Remind yourself to be thankful and express your gratitude throughout the day with those you meet.
•Chanting a Mantra. I particularly love this one. There are hundreds of mantras used in the world within many different spiritual traditions. Chanting a mantra will calm the mind and help you to feel what the divine means to you.
A mantra can be a string of words or just one word, such as “Om”. It should be special to you. A mantra can be spoken aloud or silently. When the mantra is spoken or sung out loud this is chanting. You can use a common mantra or you can make up one special to you. Here are some common mantras:
•Om Namah Shivaya – this is a popular Hindu mantra
•Om Christave Namah-this is a mantra to Jesus, considered the Christ
•Om Mani Padre Hum – this is a very popular Buddhist mantra. It is said that it is used by the Dali Lama.
•The Gayatri Mantra-used in many different traditions, but originated as a Sanskrit Hindu mantra. It is said that this mantra is one of the oldest and most powerful mantras. By chanting this mantra it becomes a part of your subconscious. As you go about your work, your life will be full of happiness.
•A small practice that I do daily is to recite a short prayer. Then I write an Haiku. Takes up little time but I feel good when I have done it.
•Using your hands in a repetitive manner such as knitting or crocheting, wood working, and many other activities. The repetition of your chosen interest helps you to focus on your work and relaxes the mind, allowing it to be open and aware receptive of your subconscious. It is even more effective if you silently use a mantra as you work.
Think about washing dishes, chopping vegetables, merely going about what needs to be done.
Such an example is this well known Zen quote:
“Before enlightenment I chopped wood and carried water. After enlightenment I chopped wood and carried water.”
Practice “your” yoga, live well.
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