Yoga One Family Member, Frank Richardson, has been sharing his practice with our community since October of 2011. We love his positive energy, easy smile and kindness. He writes about how his yoga practice has supported him while traveling in Italy.
For me, Yoga is closely linked with meditation. One has more movement than the other, though both come from the physical mechanics underlying the act of breathing.
Being still in meditation causes us to open up from the rhythm and flow of breath, the expansion and contraction of the diaphragm and lungs starting at the root and progressing up through all the chakras, pausing at the crown, then flowing down again.
Focusing on this flow and letting thoughts go without locking on to them allows us to be aware of the continuing presence underlying the static paths of thoughts.
Yoga builds on this breathing practice by extending the movements created by breathing into practiced cycles that bring the flow throughout the body. Yoga brings Prana, or breath, wherever there is constriction or “stuck-ness” or even pain.
Flow, I am coming to realize, is essential to joy. Yoga opens my body and mind to being joyful by connecting to the flow of life that is happening from moment to moment.
The yoga I am doing now while traveling is not formal. There are no classes defining “practice.” I watch my breathing and my quality of alertness or presence.
How I am standing or sitting? Am I leading with my heart? Is my head up or am I looking down? What’s the level of anxiety I am experiencing right now? Can I breathe through it to get to the other side?
I most likely won’t be able to practice either yoga or meditation formally again until I get home; but the moment to moment check-ins keep me in balance and moving with the flow while traveling through this wonderful and sometimes daunting place called Italy.