Want to improve your physical, mental, and emotional health? Be a yogi.
You do not need to wear mala beads and expensive yoga pants, learn the Sanskrit names of poses, or even own a yoga mat or attend any yoga classes. None of these make you a yogi.
Yoga means union. Union of the mind and body. Union of the physical self and the higher self. Develop an intimate relationship with your physical existence to bring health and happiness to every aspect of your life. Fulfillment and success to every physical endeavor follows.
Spend a little time, as often as you can spare it, to cut the external distractions and bring your awareness into your physical sensation.
Sit on the floor. Kick off your shoes. Stretch. Move. Explore.
This isn't about going through a prescribed set of poses or stretches. Rather use those poses as a starting point from which to launch your exploration. Every stretch becomes a new journey when we arch and round our back, roll our spines up, down, and around, rock our hips side to side and front to back, roll the head, and stretch and contract different limbs. Constantly seek new joint configurations. Let your body flow in and out of each position. Hold your attention on the physical sensations.
Linger a while when you find an uncomfortable or tight spot. Stay there as long as your need to fully relax.
Breath. Take deep, full, diaphragmatic inhales. Fully let go of each exhale. Allow your entire body to relax and melt a little deeper into the position as you reach the bottom of each exhale.
Self-massage. Poke, prod, rub, squeeze, grind, and pinch with your fingers, hands, and elbows. Search for areas of tension and knots. You might not be trained in massage but no one can seek out your problem areas like you can.
The more time you spend exploring your body, the more physical awareness you will bring to other areas of life. You will be more mindful of the way you stand, sit, walk, move, work out, and carry yourself though the day. You will feel more in-tune with how different foods make you feel. You will be in better communication with your body to assess the type of training or activities you can handle each day.
There are very few more healthful things than spending a few quiet minutes alone with your body, dwelling in your physical presence.
Spend some time with yourself today. You deserve it.
Be a yogi.