the llama blog
practicing yoga off the mat.
In a middle school dance room, twenty girls move from Downward Facing Dog into Warrior 2 while concentrating not only on stepping the right foot forward but also on their breath. They lengthen their spines in Locust pose and quietly hold a wobbly Tree Pose. After 45 minutes of moving, they lie down on their backs and follow a guided meditation about cloud thoughts.
I taught this class a year ago, but what stuck with me the most was the one young girl who approached me after class. She thanked me for giving her the opportunity to feel silence. She said it was so wonderful to breathe without the background noise.
Surprisingly, when I ask new students what they want out of a yoga class, they reply relaxation. I feel what we are all seeking is a little quiet time. In our daily lives, we are so consumed with distractions and noise. From smartphones to binge watching, we keep a steady flow of entertainment and news at our fingertips. We may feel all of this communication is helping us, but perhaps, we don’t need as much as we utilize.
In an article from Market Watch, we spend more than 11 hours a day watching, reading, swiping, and listening to our devices (smartphones, computers, televisions, etc.). When I read this, I was curious how much time I was spending tuned into a device. The answer: an average of 6 hours a day.
Don’t get me wrong. Technology is wonderful and can assist on so many levels, but my meditation practice reminds me just how important silence is. Meditation brings our awareness to the present moment while binge watching “Game of Thrones” distracts us from our emotions and thoughts from the day. Sitting in silence allows us to process our day, and helps us manage our stress. It gives us a tool to better handle relationships, situations and our emotions.
If we are spending more than 11 hours a day online, try scheduling just 30 minutes of quiet time in your day. It doesn’t have to be all at the same time, and it doesn’t have to be a formal meditation practice. Turn off the electronic. Walk, sit or move while you focus on your breath. Allow your thoughts to bubble to the surface. Notice them. And then like a cloud, let them float along.
On a recent to trip to Florida to visit family and friends, I noticed how many of our conversations revolved around our health. I guess when you hit a certain age (ahem, 40) you start taking your health and your body’s warning signs more seriously. One ailment that kept coming up was poor digestion. Walk into a pharmacy and you’ll notice multiple aisles of medicines and health aids to ease stomach ailments. From antacids to constipation relief, there are a lot of choices for these issues we all seem to be experiencing.
One way to heal digestive woes is to practice Ayurveda. Ayurveda, the science of life, states that all of our ailments are linked to how our body interprets and digests emotions, thoughts and yes, food. Think about it. If you don’t have a strong digestive system to break down a delicious ice cream sundae then where does the unprocessed food go? Science has shown us that fat from the ice cream gets stored in our body, and Ayurveda would also agree that other unprocessed elements remain causing us other issues down the road.
While I am not an Ayurvedic consultant, I do practice and recommend the following Ayurvedic principles.
Making a few changes can do wonders for your belly. Try one, and let me know how it works for you.