Sunday, August 4, 2013

Finding Downward Dog In Day-To-Day Life

As many of you may or may not know, I recently picked up and moved across the country from a suburb of Detroit, Michigan to San Francisco, California.  Not only was the move a total and utter upheaval, but my change in lifestyle was equally as dramatic.  I went from practicing 90-degree Vinyasa flow yoga daily, baking in my kitchen for hours on end and working part time at a local yoga studio, to sitting on my rear behind a computer screen for eight hours at a stretch.  As someone who is naturally active and energetic, this was a difficult switch for me, to say the least.

At first I set my focus simply on trying to adjust to my new job.  I didn’t worry at all about incorporating a daily—or even weekly—yoga practice.  The important thing for me was that I get settled.  Once I felt settled, then did I begin trying to find a routine for myself that would support a yoga practice, at least a couple times a week, and that would allow me to cook dinner for myself upon arriving home each night.

Well, this was not as easy as I had hoped or anticipated.  I found myself rushing after work to a studio, booking it to the train station directly after class, hoofing it back to my apartment from the train station in order to get dinner going A.S.A.P. and sitting down to dinner at nine o’clock at night. 

But I got in my yoga practice.

I realized I was undoing much of what I was trying to cultivate with my practice.  I get on my mat in order to find balance and harmony within myself and to quiet that inner voice that’s incessantly talking.  I practice to slow down, which is an aspect of myself I thrive to take off my mat as well.  By rushing, rushing, rushing to get to the studio then the train station then home, I was neither slowing down nor finding that inner peace and quiet.

I played around with my schedule a bit more and experimented to try and find a situation that would better serve my busy life.  Because yoga, and physical activity, in general, is critical for my overall wellness, I knew I had to incorporate it some way, but I had to find a way of doing it that it would add balance to my life and not subtract it. 

To do this, I found a yoga studio closer to my work with more convenient evening class times.  Now I’m not rushing out of the office, changing into my leggings as I half-run to class, and I have time to actually settle into the practice.  Additionally, because the class time is earlier, I’m able to get home with enough time to make a dinner for myself and eat before nine. 

In addition to my yoga practice, I’ve also started taking brisk walks around my new city before work each morning.  These walks recharge my spirit and ensure I get in some form of activity for the day, in the event I don’t make it to my evening yoga class.  Sometimes I even use my lunch break to do my grocery shopping at Whole Foods, a fifteen minute walking distance from my work, and get my activity that way.  Whatever I do, however much or little it is, it’s something, and I feel better about myself after doing it.

I encourage you, too, to think of creative ways to weave whatever it is you do into your schedule, however chaotic it looks.  Even if you can’t incorporate your favorite activity every day, do something.  Move your body.  Take the stairs instead of the escalator.  Walk to the Starbucks a block farther away but do something, little things, even, that are going to add balance, stability and groundedness to your life and not make it more of a frenetic, stressful craze. Your body and mind will thank you.

Love, light and happiness,