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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Is your day doomed? Live Your Yoga: Flip it around with Pranayama and Gratitude

Today was one of those days where, from the get-go, I just wanted to stay in bed and hang out with my cat...literally.  It's that time of the month, and I had a headache and felt hungover, even though I had eaten well at dinner time last night, hadn't touched any alcohol and had gone to bed at a very reasonable hour.


I thought about my options and decided to practice some Pranayama (the Yoga of breathing).  At first, I was surprised at how expansive my breath was.  For some reason, based on the tension in my jaw, head, shoulders and back upon awakening, I expected my breath to be shorter or for me to have to struggle in order to take the deep, ocean breaths that would eventually turn into smooth, silky exchange with the Universe around me. But, lo and behold, I experienced those smooth, silky, ocean breaths upon beginning the practice. It felt really good.

It also made me think: why do we often anticipate the worst instead of expecting the better scenario? Why did I expect a struggle instead of trusting and accepting that my experience would be whatever it needed to be in that given moment?  Part of it is past experience, of course.  In yoga class, I often have to work up to having a more relaxed, long flowing breath.  Perhaps practicing Pranayama in bed, even if we awaken in a tense state, is a bit easier on our lungs, organs, and our body-mind-spirit in general.  In any event, I continued practicing for about 5 minutes, all the while stretching out the tense areas in interesting yoga-like poses, while still in bed.  I got a few curious looks from my cat, but he eventually joined in on the stretch-fest, too. :)

I then began to flip the coin, and instead of imaging that it would be difficult for me to get through my work day between the combination of how I felt and thinking about my family on the east coast being at my Uncle Joe's funeral, I began to think about all of the things that I had to look forward to: My co-worker (who only comes in once a week), who just brightens the whole place up and lifts the vibration of the whole office was coming in today (I was definitely looking forward to that!), my boss was counting on me to take care of a number of things, and I enjoy my work... I was going to order a brand new, shiny, top-of-the-line cell phone that the company is providing so that I can stay connected and blog, tweet, and Facebook while in the field and while traveling....I'd get to see my Boss' wife, who always either makes me laugh or gets me thinking about something interesting (and she often offers me delicious wholesome goods from her organic garden.) 

After giving some thought to all of the blessings in store for me today, I literally lept out of bed and began to get ready.  I took extra care to pamper myself, doing my makeup nicely and taking my time with my breakfast.

Interestingly though, throughout the day I noticed a lingering undertone of insecurity. I am not sure what it was about - probably the fact that I am a very imperfect person who sometimes attains to be perfect in everyone's eyes - neurotically recounting what I've said and apologizing for things that never offended anyone to begin with.  Perhaps I was a bit more vulnerable today than other days, but whatever the case, I showed myself compassion and recited: "Today I am feeling insecure. How human of me." Then it was basically, "OK, now get on with it." No need to continue to analyze (after all, no one else was).

I was able to enjoy the day, be productive, and return to my breath and practice Pranayama with no apology. I even took a 3 minute Yoga stretch break outside in the sun :)

So, the next time you wake up thinking the day is doomed, stop for a moment and breathe deeply. Reflect on all of the wonderful possibilities for the day and things you can be grateful for, and watch your day transform before your very eyes.

Namaste,
Debbie aka Sulilo



















Photo from MultiMediaStudyEtsy on Flickr

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