It’s Friday as I write this post. The end of a typical workweek.
Yet, for many of us, Saturday and Sunday are far from mini-holidays. Thinking about this fact leads me to reflect on the concept of “time off”. For parents with children, is there really such a thing? If you’re self-employed, what does this expression actually mean? Some of us work, get groceries, cook, clean, do laundry, have family obligations–the to-do list is constant and never-ending. When we think of time off, we visualize taking a break from these daily activities and duties but by the weekend, when we have the “time off” work, we might have to pick up on some of the chores.
If you “can never relax”, as some people have expressed to me, then is time “off” really valuable or any different than time “on”? As well, what are we taking time “off” from? It seems to me that the expression is literally dependant on one’s mind-set. And that, dear friends, is what Yoga can help you with: a relaxed mind can travel through time and space with more ease.
How can Yoga help? Many people turn to Yoga for “stress-management,” expecting yoga to take their stress away. That may not happen, but Yoga can offer the best possible “time-off” in that it gives the thinking mind a little brain holiday. As Daniel J. Siegel says in The Mindful Brain, “Stillness is not the same as a void in activity, it’s more like a stabilizing strength”. This calm inner center is what provides us with the ability to relax even when we are in the midst of taxing circumstances. That is the number one reason to cultivate what I like to refer to as “yoga mind”.
Your “yoga mind” is able to surf into stillness even when you are on-duty, and it becomes your essential tool. I am not referring to ‘spacing out’, but rather, learning how to tame the mind, calm the chatter and experience newness within the daily flow.
Here are 10 ways to cultivate your yoga mind and incorporate the peaceful perspective into your week without getting on a plane (though that could be nice too!):
- Take a break from social media –whether the whole weekend or just part of it, in order to have a break, you need to create one!
- Turn your cell phone OFF (not to vibrate)
- Skip one thing in your routine and see if you miss it
- Try a new yoga posture
- Try a new pranayama
- Invest 15 minutes a day in relaxation
- Cut out one yoga posture from your daily flow or -try the same posture but in a different variation
- Take a break from sitting a lot by standing and shaking your legs out
- Periodically close your eyes or look away from the computer and take a few easy breaths
- Just sit quietly and follow your breath for 5 minutes
Photo Credit: Ian Bothwell