Yoga training gives us empowerment. Among the many powers we receive from regular Yoga practice is the power to say no. How often do you fill your plate with excessive obligations? Do you take on problems, which cannot be helped? We are not talking about getting away from your responsibilities. Some of us have a terrible time saying no to people who waste our time.
Here is an example: A co-worker has had the same problem, day in, day out, for years, and calls you on the telephone, about her problem, at your home. You have errands to run, for your family, but this co-worker spends the better part of an hour using you for a sounding board. You have given her advice, but she never listens because she is too busy complaining to consider listening to you or solving her problem.
Your Yoga teacher talks about mindfulness and loving kindness toward others all the time. What can you do? Do not pick up the phone or try to handle this persons problems. You have given this person advice and she refuses to listen.
Your Yoga teacher has discussed living in the moment. Your objective is to make positive changes, now, for a brighter future. You cannot do that, if you are listening to the same problem over and over again. What is the best course of action?
As Yoga practitioners, we should show loving kindness, mindfulness, and help others whenever it is possible, but we cannot help anyone who refuses to take responsibility for his or her life.
When you empathically listen to your friends, family, and associates - you are giving your time, and this is a form of Karma Yoga, but you cannot afford to absorb their stress. See negative energy for what it is. When a person is full of negative thought, and you cannot help, you will, most likely, absorb this energy in the form of stress.
Now, lets look at some other ways, in which, Yoga will help us with everyday stress. Consider your total health picture. What you eat and drink can also cause stress. Caffeine, which speeds the heart rate and shortens your breath, can be found in coffee, tea, soda, hot cocoa, and chocolate.
How fast do you eat? How much do you eat at one sitting? How much sleep do you get per night? All of these factors can be modified to manage your stress levels. Yoga teaches us that moderation is the key to good health. The results of steady Yoga practice will be reflected by living a less stressful lifestyle and making a change.
One last point to mention: Many of us worry about the future, causing us even more stress. Yoga practice teaches us to live in the present moment. The future has many variables, and we cannot see all of them. Preparation and pro-active behavior should be geared toward finding solutions, instead of worrying. It is normal to worry, but we all know it is a waste of time. How often do the things you worry about really happen?
Copyright 2006 Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center, in Attleboro, MA. http://www.riyoga.com He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995. To receive a Free e-Book: "Yoga in Practice," and a Free Yoga Newsletter, please visit: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/index.htmlHelen Keller