I attended the Ekam Yoga Festival on the weekend and I can honestly say I have come out the other side feeling refreshed. Cue *roll eyes*. Ok ok. Yoga isn't for everyone but couldn't most people benefit from being a little more mindful and learning techniques to switch off?
Everyone is busy and each day it is a constant struggle to find time which is just for yourself. A lot of people feel selfish or guilty for taking time out but ultimately it's this time which helps to make us happier and more pleasant to be around.
I don't feel like I can call myself a 'yogi'. Meditation doesn't come naturally for me and lots of teachers say that people with stressful or busy lives find it difficult 'switch off'.
I take this to mean that we can't stop that inner chatter or the voice in our head which gives us a constant running commentary on people and our surroundings.
It's the voice which alerts us to any annoyance or irritation.
'Why does noone clean up around here except me?' or 'will that person ever shut up?'.
The inner voice becomes the real distraction not what initially sparked it. Once we hear the inner voice go off it is hard to remain calm and to keep ourselves from physically exploding.
During meditation I often find my mind wanders to the strangest thoughts or I can find myself thinking about different experiences which happened years ago.
It can be useful then to follow the path but then switch off from these thoughts and focus instead on your breath.
Awareness is the secret of yoga. So I guess then it is important to be aware of our focus but not to dwell on thoughts which may cause anxiety or a state of heightened tension.
I admit I was skeptical about meditation and yoga before I tried. However I've found that even by going to a class intermittently (once a week if I'm lucky) has really paid off. I am learning not to tune in to my inner voice and trying not to let grievances get the better of me.
As I stated at the start of this article yoga isn't for everyone and I'm not expecting to be able to do a handstand anytime soon.
However yoga isn’t about the journey of becoming the most flexible person in the universe.
I do believe the mind is an incredibly powerful tool and it's important that we learn how not to sweat the small stuff.