By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed
The essence of the celebration of Thanksgiving is one of gratitude for the abundance that fills our lives. This abundance may be in the form of nourishing food, good friends, material well-being, or rich family connections. There are also less visible forms of abundance, such as a generous heart and a giving nature. All of these forms of abundance make our lives rich and fulfilling.
On the other hand, many Yoga practitioners experience a certain frustration or sadness at a perceived lack of abundance in one or more areas of their lives. For instance, you may feel that you are blessed with a lucrative career that takes care of all your material needs, but you may feel lonely if you are not able to spend enough time with your family or friends. Alternately, you may feel very nourished and sustained by close friendships and a deep connection to your family, but you may struggle to earn enough money to cover your basic living expenses.
In either case, increasing the balance of how you spend your time and energy will help to create more abundance in the areas of your life that do not feel fulfilling. By practicing Yoga regularly you will feel more energetic and optimistic, so that you will have more energy to put into other areas of your life, including professional aspirations and interpersonal relationships. A lack of abundance in one or more areas of your life is most likely connected to a lack of energy and/or an imbalance in the way you spend your time.
By engaging in the highly effective and time-tested practices of Yoga poses, breathing exercises and meditation techniques, you will increase your self-awareness and physical well-being. Both of these qualities will allow you to invest more energy into various aspects of your life, which will nurture abundance and fullness on all levels of your life. By being mindfully aware of how you move through your Yoga practice, you will be able to witness how you approach different aspects of your practice, which easily translates into a metaphor for how we approach our lives “off the mat.”
By bringing mindful awareness to your Yoga practice, you will develop the self-knowledge and understanding about how to balance the different aspects ofyour practice according to your own temperament and needs. This will enable you to apply this knowledge to establishing a revitalizing daily rhythm, which will enhance your energy and creativity throughout the other aspects of your life. For example, do you find that you are often rushed to get through your Yoga practice because you still have a million and one things to do today? Or do you find that you jump right into a vigorous flow of Sun Salutations and standing poses before you are warmed up, and then find that you are running out of steam before you even really get your Yoga practice started?
By mindfully witnessing how you practice Yoga on the mat, you will be astonished by the wisdom you gain about your approach to your life off the mat. During this time of thanksgiving, the awareness of cultivating a sense of fullness in all areas of our lives is heightened. One way to increase energy and abundance in our lives off the mat is to become aware of how we structure our time on the Yoga mat. For instance, I often find that if I warm-up slowly before moving into the Sun Salutations and other vigorous Yoga poses that my practice of the more challenging physical poses of Yoga is deeper and more strengthening. This natural flow from gentle movement to more vigorous movements increases my energy and sense of abundance much more effectively than jumping right into the Sun Salutations or Power Yoga flows without amply warming up.
By honoring your own natural of warming up slowly, reaching an apex point in your practice, and then cooling down and resting at the end of your Yoga practice, you will find it much easier to establish a balanced rhythm in other areas of your life. One of the keys to cultivating abundance and energy in our lives is by honoring our own natural rhythm, as we nurture and honor the rhythm inherent in other areas of our lives and in the lives of those around us. This includes a balanced approach to nurturing our careers and strengthening our personal relationships, as we maintain a strong and consistent foundation of self-care through a balanced Yoga practice.
Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she works as a yoga and health-related freelance writer and an academic support specialist. She may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.