Like many fellow yogis, practicing is not the only thing that takes up our time. While I would love to be able to teach and practice full time, we typically have additional priorities in our life. The reality is that we still have to pay bills, we have families to support, and we do have some desires and samskaras that we’re working through. But until that state of enlightenment, we’re aware of what we need to do in order to function in our community without going totally monastic. Hence other activities in our life enable our practice; sometimes we forget that our practice can complement our activities…
We have so many facets in our life that distract us, bring us joy, and even stress us out. You don’t have to be a yoga teacher to recognize that you can apply some of the practices you’ve picked up in yoga to help manage your day to day mindset.
I found myself in a very stressful situation where two things happened… I was able to bring awareness to both what my body was doing (involuntary constricted breathing) and the psychological affect it was having on me (inducing more stress). When I focused on meditating with my breath (yes, I do ujjayi breathing outside of the studio and on the train), bringing awareness to the root cause of why I was feeling this way, and not just to my physical self – this stressful situation didn’t seem so bad, after all. It indirectly brought a sense of calmness to me and I was able to slowly work through a logical framework in my head that allowed me to sequentially get to a point where I was better again.
The moral of the story is that you can use what you’ve learned in your yoga practice to help center yourself. Once you are in a place where you can make a more clear decision, not marked by stress or highly influential emotional states, you will begin to see things differently. There will always be good and bad times, but it’s all just your time.