Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Earth Mama Yoga's guest post on Natural Parents Network

Please take a look: Starting and mainting a home yoga practice

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Om, how I love you

It has been many months now that I have been comfortably ensconced in my "hurray! I found time for yoga while baby sleeps" practice.  I was feeling pretty good about it and merrily practicing on my way, when all of the sudden one night, I realized my old yoga nemesis, Sir Wandering Mind, had come back to visit in a big way. 

One of the reasons I practice yoga is to work toward union of the body and mind, which in turn helps me feel fully present, both on the mat and beyond.  Before I get to that union, however, I really need to focus my mind on the poses, and then just let go and still my mind.  Sir Wandering Mind isn't so in to that scenario.  He creeps up on me and starts playing back the events from the day at lightning speed.  Then, he starts asking, "why didn't you do this differently, how could you even think that, did you know you forgot to do what you absolutely needed to do?"  Generally speaking, he is not a helpful guy. Specifically speaking, he is a real damper on my yoga practice.

I wasn't going to take his visits lying down (except, of course, when I am in savasana).  Thankfully, yoga teaches that there are things that can be done to lessen Sir Wandering Mind's effects on me.  I thought back to my yoga classes and how I was able to feel pretty darn present during asanas in class, and how great that left me feeling afterwards. 

What was I doing in class that was missing at home?  Om!  The answer is chanting om!  In most classes I have taken, particularly with teachers I really loved, we always began class by chanting om.  When I first started going to yoga classes, I felt spectacularly silly chanting om.  But it didn't take long to realize that I loved it and it really affected me.  I loved chanting om even more, when I found out what it meant: Om is the true sound of the universe.  If there were no other sounds, om is what we would hear and feel.  Now, that's deep, and I bought it, lock stock and barrel.  I totally felt it.  In addition to yoga class, I began chanting om whenever I felt I needed a little calm: at work, in traffic, before I went to bed.  Om, how could I forget you?

So, I tried chanting om three times at the beginning of my practice.  While not a miracle cure to banish Sir Wandering Mind, it is an antidote.  And, I love how the universe sounds and feels!

Go ahead, try it.  Sit comfortably (on the floor, cross-legged, if possible, if not, a chair will do).  Take a long breath in through your nose.  Open your mouth and as you are exhaling, say ooooommmm.  Stay on the "o" as long as feels good and then finish with the "m," again, staying with it as long as feels good.  Repeat at least two more times.

Even if you feel silly at first, just give it a try.  You might just end up in love with yourself and the universe!