As the day continued we began to explore the question "what is yoga?". Yoga is so much more than the physical asanas (poses) we do on our mats. It is the use of mind, body and spirit to move into a place of stillness in order to experience the truth of who you are so you can live daily life with that new awareness. Yoga helps teach us to be centered in action so that we always have the clearest perspective on what's happening in the moment. This is something that many of us, including myself, struggle with on a daily basis. A good friend of mine once told me, you are depressed when living in the past and anxious when living in the future. I asked my instructor, how exactly do you learn to calm the mind and keep from going outside the moment? She simply replied, by focusing on your breath.
Yoga teaches you breath control in order to stay present. Whenever your mind begins to wonder, just go back to observing your inhalation and exhalation. By feeling yourself breathe, you center your thoughts back to the now while letting go of the mind chatter trying to take over.
Next time you feel as if your mind is taking over and creating chaos, try this exercise: sit on the floor (or chair) with your back straight and eyes closed. Being with a deep and gentle inhale followed by a long and slow exhale. Focus on how your breath feels as it flows in and out of your body. If thoughts begin to creep into your mind, just observe them, let them go, and bring your focus back to your breath. Within minutes you will feel more at ease and centered. Those anxious or depressed feelings with start to fade and an overall peaceful feeling should reside within you.
I can say that ever since starting to practice this exercise, I have been able to stop anxiety from taking over and creating internal chaos.
"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others"