With the holidays just around the corner, we can use our yoga practice to help us cope with this hectic, and at times stressful, time of year. The 3 fundamentals of Alignment Yoga not only apply to our practice on the mat, but off the mat as well. Take a moment out of your busy day to observe if you feel stress or tension in the body. Additionally observe the state of the breath. If there is tension, or the breath feels short, ragged, or challenging follow these 3 simples steps to encourage more ease in the body and deepen the breath:
1) Remind yourself that the earth is beneath you, providing its loving support. Explore feeling that downward current of energy through the legs and feet if you are standing, or by rooting the sit bones if you are seated. Let the body settle earthward.
2) Invite the roof of the mouth to relax, releasing the tongue if it is pressing there, and welcoming an experience of spaciousness between the upper molars and towards the back of the throat
3) Commit fully to your exhale. The inhale will follow and with less effort. Take a few moments to close your eyes and let your awareness stay with the breath. If the awareness drifts to other things, gently direct it back to the breathing.
When we approach our yoga practice, as well as life in general, from a place of grounding and connection, we can carry out the demands of our day from a place of more ease and less effort. The noise, demands and distraction often aren't going to go away so we learn to find this experience whether we are carrying out a demanding task at work, caring for our children, standing in line at the grocery store, or sitting on our yoga mat in a quiet room. You are truly practicing yoga when you can take your practice off the mat and into daily living.