So many times I hear 'I haven’t got time, I haven’t got time,' however if you had someone film you for the whole day without you knowing you would see just how much time we waste in doing unnecessary things and having unnecessary conversations. The fact of the matter is there is time, it is just using it in the right way, everybody is busy and everybody seemingly has stress, the ants are busy but it is what we are busy with that is important and knowing how to manage our stress. Stress is cause of disease, stress is cause of bad moods, intolerance and impatience. Too much stress is harmful to our complete wellbeing and for many people they are suffering with too much stress, which in turn brings sickness both mentally and physically. Often it is also the case that we wait until the sickness comes to then do anything about it, and often the treatment is a quick fix answer that only treats the immediate problem and not the cause and can often bring added side effects. Burying stress and believing it’s not there is also not a good idea, it will raise its head at some point, when you block it, it may give a temporary relief but the account is not closed. A more effective and higher level of healing is to eliminate the diseases before they manifest. For this we must consider our lifestyle, we must try and cut down on the wrong factors in our lives that can cause the stress and bring disease, be that an increase in anxiety and insecurity, or a physical reaction such as allergy or irritable bowl syndrome. Dr. David Frawley says “Health is a continual adjustment, like sailing a ship upon the sea. It cannot be achieved and then forgotten it has to be an ongoing concern.”
Yoga brings a complete and wholesome means of prevention to illness and management to stress levels. Yoga consists of many different practices, but today so many people often think yoga is about rolling out a mat, wearing trendy leggings and trying to put our bodies in places they don’t want to go without a fight! Yoga is a way of being, it is a gentle way, a way that leads us to feelings of completeness and peacefulness. Yoga is being able to be calm and contented in any given situation no matter what is going on around us. And if we start by looking at our levels of concentration we have made a big first step on the path to wellbeing. The ability to concentrate is not only essential toward our happiness but is key in any endeavor. Today as we are bombarded by stimuli from external factors and everything is expected to be instant in most places, for most people levels of concentration are very poor. Practicing concentration has many benefits it strengthens the way that we connect thoughts and ideas in the brain – making it easier to grasp or understand difficult, confronting or confusing concepts. Being able to concentrate boosts our efficiency and dramatically can reduce stress, as we seem to be able to achieve what we need to with much more ease, which brings greater serenity, insight and cheerfulness. By improving our concentration we are definitely going to improve our psychological health.
Here is a simple exercise you can do to help boost and improve your state of mental and physical health and bring a greater sense of calmness into your life.
1. Sit in a cross-legged pose or if not possible then sit upright on a chair with the spine not touching the back. However you are sitting make sure you are comfortable but the spine is held straight. This in itself will naturally start to calm the mind.
2. Close your eyes, and bring your awareness through your body making sure you are feeling as relaxed as you can be.
3. Then start to bring your awareness to your natural breath, feeling every inhalation coming in and every inhalation coming out. Just watch your breath for a while, with no expectation or judgments.
4. Try to slowly deepen the breath a little without force.
5. Then begin to count your breath, the inhalation -1 the exhalation 1, next inhalation 2, exhalation 2 etc. and continue.
6. If you become distracted by thoughts, a sound, a smell etc. then return back down to one and begin again, when the next distraction comes again return to one. Don’t worry if you don’t even get off of one, remember it is just an exercise to improve your concentration.
7. Practice for 5-10 minutes depending on your time.
8. When you have finished don’t come straight back out into the world, keep the eyes softly closed, and mentally repeat to yourself, I am calm, I am peace, I am healing, I am healed.
9. Then slowly when you are ready gently open your eyes.
If you can practice this twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening, after some time you will really start to notice a difference in yourself. How you deal with things and how you work more efficiently, sleep better and how much more time you suddenly have!! You can even practice this when you are traveling to and from work on the train or bus, or during a tea break, or even in bed before you go to sleep, so no excuses!
Enjoy the practice
Wishing you all peace, serenity and joy.
AUM shanti AUM
Mangala / Nicky.