Take a deep, deep inhale. Hold it for five seconds while you close your eyes, then allow yourself a long, slow exhale before you open your eyes again. Don’t worry. I’ll wait for you to return to this article.
There were so many years that I wasn’t really even aware that I had lungs, let alone appreciated that they spent 24 hours a day working without a break. I took it for granted that they’d just keep doing what they did. What a thankless job lungs have. When I started my yoga practice ten years ago, I began to realize that when I became aware of my breath, my entire being shifted. I quieted down, felt more aware, could hear sounds more clearly and smell more acutely. My sense of self expanded into a place of heightened consciousness – becoming more conscious of my body/mind/spirit connection and my connection to the world around me.
Being conscious of our physical body demands that we become aware of how we interact with our body. Are we eating well? What does well mean? Are we sleeping enough? Are we exercising? Are we really as balanced as we’d like to be so that we can run at optimum capacity? I used to be a "grab a cup of coffee and a muffin on the way out the door" kind of woman. I’d scarf down my breakfast in the car on the way to work, and after the first cup of coffee was gone I’d pour myself a few more. The ups and downs I felt all morning were fueled by a lack of fuel. I was running on sugar and caffeine.
Cleansing ourselves enough to become aware of our mind-body-spirit connection takes practice and discipline. And, when we are able to focus on who we are rather than what we do, an incredible shift takes place. I didn’t want to be the woman I was becoming – the woman who woke up needing her caffeine fix and the woman who had physical, mental and emotional ups and downs during the day. I wanted to become balanced. So, rather than looking outside of myself, I began to look inside. What was it that I could change that would help me to become healthier?
The first place I looked was diet. Having been a vegetarian since 1991, I was well on my way to cutting out extra fats, but I still had a ways to go. The next was working toward giving up caffeine, then alcohol and now refined sugar. Over the course of the last four years, I’ve been able to shift my diet to a place that allows me to really feel what’s going on inside of my body. My yoga practice adds to my physical, emotional and spiritual body, and I’ve learned that when I have eight or nine hours of sleep I’m ready to seize the day in a balanced way. Look out!
When we take care of ourselves, our vibration resonates at a higher level. People become more at peace when they’re in your presence, yet they sometimes wonder why. Animals become more attracted and babies turn their heads to watch you pass. The cleaner we become as humans, the greater the effect we have on our surroundings. The plants in our home grow aggressively and become healthier in our presence, and our neighborhoods become friendlier.
So, it’s not about what we do in life, it’s about who we become. That’s what creates a healthy, balanced lifestyle. We have a choice in this lifetime to be active or passive – whether we choose to make a difference or sit passively and watch others do the work. I choose to take action and responsibility so that I can be the best I can be.
How about you?