All in a Day’s Practice
I was teaching and practicing online the other night and a bit of wisdom seemed to slip out accidentally – bubbling out as a result of bending around, the way the best ideas seem to come…unbidden.
That idea was this –
We practice yoga on the mat, so that we can do it all day far from it.
And, it’s this doing that should concern us, I thought and talked about while we practiced…
Both the tendency to think we’ve done our yoga for 60 minutes at noon in class – attempting to cram in a full day’s physical practice – and, to fail to do the daily discipline of doing the right thing, the practicing of our yoga far from the mat in the events and people of our day…
From practicing non-reactivity (e.g. instantaneous forgiveness for other people’s dumb-assery), to taking good care of our body-minds through life’s ups and downs, our practice can permeate our day-to-day…if we put our focus on inviting it to.
Once you “master” a few tools – working with them steadily for weeks or years – you gain an ability to layer them over other activity.
Performing a productive pranayama practice over some physical postures is a poignant example…breathing deep while you’re walking into and out of work, perhaps a more practical application of those layers elsewhere in life.
The yoga equivalent of riding a bike and chewing gum at the same time, as it were.
It’s what Eckhart Tolle means when he instructs to ‘keep a bit of presence reserved for yourself even as you place most of it on the events of life happening around you’…closing your eyes and inviting an awareness of the hands or feet while you wait in line, for example.
I thought it might be helpful to share what a typical day’s worth of practice looks like in my life…see what elements might fit into yours and get to it!
– Hydrate – water, then celery juice, then coffee
– Oxygenate – 30 deep, steady breaths…nothing fancy, no holds or counting just get the O2 in you even if you do it while walking the dog (just don’t attempt to layer this tool while you’re driving!)
– Short stretch – wake-up and warm up the parts that are stiff from sleeping…the neck, shoulders, and hamstrings at a minimum
– Create a productive pattern – try out out “I am fucking awesome” meditation
As you continue through your morning, you might consider what’s coming in your day and prepare for it with a mindfulness tool meant to empower you through it, replacing “I don’t know” with “I wonder”; or, the fact that “consideration costs you nothing.”
It may be helpful to simply visualize a challenging personality being challenging and you being non-reactive in the face of it, setting yourself up to flow through a new, more productive pattern with a parent or loved one.
The day winds on and sometimes the tendency is just to caffeinate through it…instead, try the natural version with a short practice…
– Energize/workout – take a quick, power class or weighted flow to get the heart moving
– Breath – during activity…walking to or from lunch, while practicing, or working…3 big breaths in a row, alternated with a few normal ones…repeat for as many rounds as you remember/want to
– Hydrate – water then happy hour
– Meditation – there’s a sweet spot in the late afternoon where the mind’s natural rhythms lend itself towards more calmness…identify it and take advantage of it, even for 10 minutes
Take a moment to take 3 breaths before you move from work life to home life creating a distinct separation between the two…if you need something more demonstrable, stop and do as many push-ups as possible in between your work life and home life…if pandemic life has you working from home, then take a short walk outside of it to create this distinct, energetic split.
– Wind-down practice – stretch or gently flow in a way that counterbalances the habitual activity you undergo uniquely in your day…desk sitters stretch the chest and neck…runners, the hip-flexors and hamstrings, etc.
– Breathe – slow and steady, longer exhales than inhales send a clear message to the body-mind that it’s time to wind down…
– Hydrate – water, then a nightcap
A loving-kindness meditation can be a great way to extricate yourself from the events of your day…visualizing faces from your day and simply wishing them “may all beings be happy” can be an effective way to sneak some forgiveness in towards even the most difficult personalities – even if that personality is you.
Craft your moment-to-moment practice to fit the daily demands of your unique life experience. Dropping in tools where necessary and carrying your practice with you far from your mat…point being to productively pepper your practice throughout your day so that, one day, presence permeates more moments than not.
Doing your yoga on the mat for 60 minutes does our yoga practice of connection the ultimate disservice, incorrectly presuming that because we’ve connected body, mind, and, inshalla, spirit we’ve made the ultimate leap, forgetting that an Outlaw’s ultimate imperative…is creating connection.
All of this never-minding that everybody’s unique body wants different practices and movements at different different time of day (my groin far prefers opening in the evening to the morning (there’s a joke there).
Bounce around our online catalogue at www.outlawyogaclub.com, intelligently cherry-picking the practice that’s right for you right…then, save your favorite classes – like your favorite songs – for when you really need them.
If you find you need or want more tools along the way ,check out my book The Outlaw Protocol – how to live as an outlaw without becoming a criminal – a practical manual for daily mindfulness, it’s packed with useful tools for bringing yoga into the everyday, and if you want I’ll even read it to you…;)
Or, if you’re part of our Members-only Private Facebook page, check out my daily practice videos on any day that you want to invite your practice into multiple cracks, corners, and crevices of your life…
Good luck, Yogis!
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Justin “Jud” Kaliszewski is the best-selling yoga teacher and renowned creator of Outlaw Yoga. Author. Artist. Adventurer. Though his studio is currently closed per state order, you can still take his class NOW at outlawyogaclub.com and www.youtube.com/outlawyoga. Find his writing and art at www.justinkaliszewski.com and his presence all over the internet – for an outlaw, he’s shockingly easy to get ahold of.