A Contradictory Life

Three things to take from yoga practice into everyday life


Yoga does not remove us from the reality or responsibilities of everyday life but rather places our feet firmly and resolutely in the practical ground of experience. We don’t transcend our lives; we return to the life we left behind in the hopes of something better. - Donna Farhi

I managed to make the 5 pm yoga class at gym the other night as I have taken a few days off work to study and I might have to leave work early every Tuesday from now on to make this class. The guy that took it is amazing! You know how sometimes you just connect to the way someone teaches? I was about 20 minutes early, and so was he. As I lay on my mat in shavasana (corpse pose) to “warm up” he put me to shame with a series of asanas I can only dream of conquering one day.

I did a google search of his name (George Demetriades) and came across his site – Yoga Nirvana – where I found these beautiful pictures of him in various yoga asanas. These three demonstrate why I was so mesmerised by his practice yesterday:

He began the class by reminding us of his three yoga ‘rules’ and I love them. I think all of them are apt to remember in everyday life, not only whilst practicing yoga.

  1. Focus on your breath. I write the ‘Wellness Wednesdays‘ posts (as well as a few others) on Cycology 371‘s blog and wrote about the importance of breathing properly a few weeks ago. The strangest thing is that if you watch a baby breathe you can clearly see that they are taking breaths from deep within their abdomen – you can see their stomachs and chests rise and fall. As we grow up, daily stresses affect the way we breathe.  We only use the top third of our lungs and essentially we are always breathing as though we are hyperventilating! I have also covered techniques to improve your breathing and since I have become more aware of my breath I have noticed how often I am in a state of hyperventilation but because I am more aware I am now able to correct this life-giving practice.
  2. Don’t strain yourself and do not compete. Yoga is an inwardly-focused form of exercise and it is always important to honestly assess, and do everything to the best of, your ability. Is this not something we all need to remember every day?
  3. Set your intention. A yoga class often begins with the instructor guiding the class to silently set their intention for their practice that day. An intention is different from a goal in the sense that a goal is directed toward a future outcome (eg. to spend more time with family, to save more, to sort out your finances, to work through your to-do list) whereas an intention focuses on how you are “being” in the present moment and should keep you present whilst on the yoga mat. An intention is a continual aspiration and calls to attention what your mind, body and soul needs most. It can be a word, dedication, quote or prayer. A few of the intentions I use during my yoga practice and which should be incorporated into daily life: don’t be scared, be more patient with yourself, open your heart and mind, find purpose in what you are doing, choose to be happy, let go of unnecessary stress and free your mind of incessant chatter and focus on the binding of breath and movement. Essentially, be mindful of connecting your practice (actions) to your being.

Also, always remember to respect the beliefs of others.

Namaste: the divine in me honours the divine in you!