Initially when I started on May 1st, I had plans to be finished with the 300-Hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training (AYTT) by the end of July. I thought I could put in 7.5 hours of studying from Monday to Friday every week so that I can finish in two months. The goal was quite ambitious, and by the end of week one, it became very clear that I would not be able to study from 7AM to 3:30PM (with two 30 minute breaks in between). The second week, I let go of the rigid schedule a little too much and barely got anything done. I started to doubt whether or not I could stay disciplined to finish the program. I also started to feel insecure about the video exams that I would have to submit (two 75-minute videos each module as well as a video recording of me lecturing on a Yoga-related topic). By week three, I found a good balance of planning but expecting disruptions which really helped me to approach this AYTT with discipline and grace. Last week was a great week of progress even though I had more distractions and disruptions than the first three weeks.
My daughter started her summer job as a life guard last week. Being that she gets scheduled at various locations, I’ve had to schedule my yoga practices and studying around when I had to drive her. So when I wasn’t chauffeuring her around or teaching virtual classes/private sessions and an hour-long hangout with a friend, I was in my home office/yoga studio studying, listening and watching lectures on Anatomy and Asanas (yoga poses), I found it challenging to stay engaged through all the lectures, but I committed to listening, watching and paying attention for some potential nuggets of information/wisdom that would spark a “Wow” moment within me… and it happened with this quote:
“STRESS IS THE ABSENCE OF AWARENESS”
This quote really got me thinking. I started to think about how when we are not mentally/emotionally/spiritually in our bodies, we begin to experience regrets (thinking about the past) and fears (thinking about the future) which cause us to experience a neurochemical imbalance, which then leads to the body experiencing stress. How often do you find yourself not living in the moment? How many moments do you remember from each day? Do you find that your Monday bleeds into your Tuesday… and then before you know it, it’s Sunday evening and you don’t know where the week went? I ask these questions because I have personally experienced all those scenarios. I do find myself not being aware when I’m worrying or stressing out about the what-ifs of the future. When I catch myself letting my mind drift this way, I immediately bring myself back to my body and mind by doing the following pranayama (breath control) practice:
- Stand or sit still, with both feel firmly planted into the ground.
- Either close your eyes or allow your gaze to become fixed on one non-moving object (do not try this while driving).
- If you’re standing, become aware of the ground underneath your feet. Notice how the ground feels on your feet.
- Become aware of your breath going in and out through your nostrils.
- Feel the belly rise and fall with each breath.
- Notice any sounds that you hear.
- Notice the scenery that you see.
- Take a moment to smile and give thanks to God for that very moment.
I encourage you to try the awareness exercise and comment below about your experience! 🙏