You can do yoga anywhere

Airplane cabin. Shallow DOF.When you hear somebody say “I practice yoga” you probably conjure up thoughts of them packing up their mat and going to a studio complete with a statue of some Hindu goddess and bunches of other people wearing wonderfully fitted overpriced clothing.

Here’s a little secret – I practice yoga in my car, at my desk at work, even on airplanes. Yoga isn’t something you have to be complicated about. It’s a way of being, first and foremost. The foundation of yoga is breathing. And I’m willing to bet that you’re doing it right now. If you’re not, I highly suggest it.

Any yoga practice begins with breath. And not just any breath, but breath that you actually pay attention to. Tune out the noise in your head and really focus on each in breath and out breath. That’s yoga.

You can certainly go beyond that. As part of my work at the Utah Department of Health, I’ve had the great pleasure of teaching “cubicle yoga” that anybody can do at their desk any time the mood strikes them. This series of postures is designed to counteract the general decline that happens when one sits all day. You know that tendency to find your chin on your keyboard and your eyes half closed by 2 o’clock in the afternoon.

So, sit up and breath. Then do some gentle neck rolls. Try some shoulder rolls, maybe drawing your arms all the way over your head and then back down. You probably feel better already.

Yoga is now an industry that generates billions of dollars for lots of people. People who own studios, or design clothing, or mats and other yoga gear. And that’s all great. I own lots of yoga gear and probably 25 pairs of yoga pants. But none of that is actually necessary to the fundamental practice of yoga.

If you want to get a bit more elaborate, you can move away from your desk and stand up. Yes, actually get on your feet. Your body was made to stand, not to sit. Sitting does all sorts of horrible things to your metabolism and your back. Once you stand up, feel how you feel. Listen to your body. How does it want to move? It might want to bend over, it might want to stretch to the ceiling. Try any or all of that. And breath while you do it. Inhale any time you reach up or out and exhale any time you move down or in.

Notice anything? Notice that movement begets more movement? Maybe now you want to take a walk.

Don’t let the billion dollar industry tell you that yoga is something that it’s not. You were born with a body. You have everything you need.

Categories: Lifestyle

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