Patience, you little...
I'm pretty sure everyone has the same hard time that I do when it comes to remembering patience. We probably notice it the most when we're driving, or the kids are screaming, or our partner says something just wrong. In a yoga class you often hear teachers say to be patient with your body, to allow yourself the space. I never really understood this until recently.
If you're like me- a little Pita, and therefore a little competitive, getting on your mat can be a real test of all your patiences. I've been trying lately to slow life down all around and one of my favorite ways is to slow down my practice. We all know that breath is key in yoga, movements are usually attached to our inhales and exhales. The deeper our breaths the more our intercostal muscles are activated which then activate our parasympathetic nervous system. Which causes us to literally calm down. Hi, we can (in theory) make ourselves more patient. Super cool.
Ok, back to my breath...I've been working on five count inhales and seven count exhales, especially during my sun salutations. As I work through my practice and the kramas build, my breaths usually become shorter and shallower. To avoid this I've been choosing to not go as deep into postures, or using my breaths to pull me deeper. If I end up totally off, I find that I can use my count to return to my mat and recenter my focus. It's a practice for me to remember to stay present and patient for my depth to come to me, but on the days I do I find myself surprised by how clear my practice can make me feel.
So its all well and good in a yoga class when you're surrounded by a room full of similarly minded humans, but what about this real world stuff? You know, that whole taking your yoga off your mat. Here's where it all clicked...If I'm all stressed out and worrying or in a mood, all I have to do is count my breath. Hello- duh! Sure it may not make everything melt and fall away the same way it does when I'm in down dog, but it will activate all the same muscles which has all the same effect on my nervous system. Alright, you probably knew all that good stuff, but we all need a friendly reminder that hey, this isn't permanent, not even the good stuff. So stay present and stay patient. All is coming in due time.