Quote of the day by His Holiness 14th Dalai Lama
"The most important factor in maintaining peace within oneself, in the face of any difficulty, is one's mental attitude. If it is distorted by such feelings as anger, attachment or jealousy, then even the most comfortable environment will bring one no peace."
"On the other hand, if ones attitude is generally calm and gentle, then even a hostile environment will have little effect on ones own inner peace. Since the basic source of peace and happiness is ones own mental attitude, it is worthwhile adopting means to develop it in a positive way."
Quote of the day
"You could say that Hatha Yoga is a meditation of the physical body. The asanas (postures) pranayamas (breathing) etc must be performed with consciousness, otherwise it is not yoga; the body, breath and mind must be working in harmony with each other. The sign of an advanced Hatha Yogi is the one who can keep the mind fully focussed on the breath and body at all times, regardless of the asana being held. The beginner is the one whose mind is wandering all over the place without awareness of what the breath and body are doing. Even if you can stand on your head for an hour, if the mind and breath are not harmonised you are still a beginner." (from The Yoga Handbook by Sumukhi Finney p46)
The simplest way to describe yoga is as "Body, breath and mind awareness" but that means remaining aware during all your waking hours, not just while you are on the yoga mat.
Too many people seem to feel that they have no control over their body and their breath. They wait for problems to arise, viewing ill health as an inevitable part of ageing. They wait for the doctor to diagnose and treat the problem, with medicines or operations, without taking any steps to help themselves.
Yoga teaches us that with awareness, and regular self care we can control the functions of the body, thus preventing, or at least delaying, many of the problems which can arise as we age. We can remain healthy and active into our 80's, 90's and beyond - but we must help ourselves to do this.
In the same way that with patience and dedication we can teach our bodies new skills, and ways to function more efficiently, so we can also train and teach our minds. With practice and perseverance it is possible to lead our minds away from the damaging thoughts and emotions which have become ingrained over the years, in the same way as habits of bad posture or poor diet. We do not have to listen to the endless unproductive chatter of our minds. We can still the mind and lead it gently away from feelings of anger, regret and jealousy - towards a sense of inner contentment and quiet happiness.
This is yoga. Take your first step, and join me on the most exciting journey of my life. Follow my blog for practical advice and inspiration.
Author: Meg lee, age 62, originally from UK but now living for most of the year in india and nepal. Retired from nursing older people in 2006. qualified yoga teacher specializing in yoga for the mature body and mind.
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