Yoga & Minimalism
Yoga is very simple.
You only need a mat.
You don't need to go outside or go anywhere.
You don't need shoes, weights, or machines.
Just your body and a little space.
It is such a simple workout, yet, it is very effective.
When I start doing Yoga, I realized simplicity is beautiful. It is such a simple activity, but it makes me so happy.
I realized that I did not need much stuff to be happy.
The average American owns 300,000 items in their home. That is a pretty shocking number, isn't it?
If your stuff makes you happy, that's fine, but if it does not then I want you to think to yourself...
"Why do I have this?"
In my experience, the more stuff you have means the more time you need to tidy up and organize them, and have to upkeep a bigger place. The Minimalism way of living is cost efficient, time efficient, and also environmentally friendly.
Now, I do more with less stuff.
Yoga & Health
When I tried Yoga the first time, I found it incredibly challenging and honestly I thought it was boring. I was not very flexible so I was very stiff when I started. I could not even do very basic poses and I was embarrassed with myself.
I eventually stopped going to the studio and forgot about Yoga. A couple years later, when I took the annual health check in Japan, my doctor told me that I might be borderline diabetic.
This shocked me.
The doctor advised me to do light exercises regularly like jogging or Yoga. I have never been a fan of running so I decided to do Yoga again. The first couple of months it was difficult and I always looked at other people doing cool poses and became frustrated that I could not do them too.
Now, not only my body has changed in many ways that I wouldn't have believed possible, but my mentality towards everyday life has changed too. Yoga taught me that it is pointless to compare yourself with others. Just focus on yourself and listen to what your body is telling you. Is there any pain? Stiffness? Are you feeling stressed? Impatient?
For example, when I focused on my body, I noticed that my right side was more flexible than my left side. I also noticed that the day after drinking alcohol, even a small amount, my arms were much weaker.
If you do Yoga regularly, you will become more aware of your body and can begin to feel what is going on with it. Unfortunately, most of us in today's busy world are too out of touch with our body to understand what it is trying to tell us.
One of the keys to long term health is body awareness. To develop this awareness, I recommend at least 15 mins practice everyday instead of 1 hour once a week.
Yoga was born more than 5000 years ago in India. While modern Yoga is more focused on body movement, originally it was more of a spiritual exercise. Even now, the philosophy behind Yoga can still give us great tips to live everyday life by.
For example, the book Bhagavad Gita advises readers that you cannot practice Yoga if you eat too much or eat too little, or if you sleep too much or do not sleep enough.... duh! We all know that sleeping too much or too little is not good, and that eating too much or too little is bad for our health.
... But wait.
Us modern people all have busy lives and do miss meals sometimes, stay up late, occasionally eat too much, or sleep in at times. Yes, finding the balance is not easy in today's world. (It seems it was hard in India 2000 years ago as well!)
The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word "Yuj"which means join, bind or unite. This speaks to the purpose of Yoga which is to unite the body, mind, and soul. I believe if Yoga is practice regularly, it is a great form of exercise for the modern individual in today's busy, fast-paced world.
What is Vinyasa Yoga?
Vinyasa is all about continuous movement and breathing. Vinyasa is a style originally derived from Ashtanga Yoga. Ashtanga is a term derived from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - a 1600 year old highly translated Indian text - meaning eight limbs.
8 limbs of Yoga
1. YAMAS (moral restraints) – How we relate to others
2. NIYAMAS (observances) – How we relate to ourselves
3. ASANA (pose) – How we relate to our body
4. PRANAYAMA (breath) – How we relate to our breath or spirit
5. PRATYAHARA (sensory withdrawal) – How we relate to our sense organs
6. DHARANA (concentration) – How we relate to our mind
7. DHYNA (meditation) – Moving beyond the mind
8. SAMACHI (meditative absorption) – Deep realization and inner union
When you develop 8 limbs awareness, you are more aware of the connection between your body and mind.