Nov 132012

I just wrote this article to help people who have never tried yoga– to try and tell them what is so great about yoga and how it can bring stillness to your life in the midst of chaos.  At least that is what it’s done for me!  And my yoga mat is my LIFEBOAT!


Photo Credit: Sean Boggs

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”

Says Deepak Chopra- new age guru on how to live a mindful life.

As the year winds to a close, we often look to the new year with optimism that we can change our lives to be happier, healthier and -do I dare say the word- simpler.  Our smart phones and computers keep us so “plugged in” Is there any wonder that we yearn for peace in a world of constant noise?

In the midst of the movement, media, and chaos of life, you may be finding yourself looking for stillness or perhaps even a new meaning to your life that extends beyond phones, computers and the constant drive to do things bigger, better and faster.

As a yoga teacher, I’ve seen more and more people seeking something more authentic out of life lately, more than just money and the latest fad.  People are looking for a Spiritual “More”.  With so much fear and uncertainty in the world around us we are realizing that the material “things” we have been seeking are not making us happy.  Where can we find true happiness and peace?    In the past, we may have sought out happiness in the noise of life- twitter, facebook, emails, texts-  all things that entertain and distract us.  Yet by keeping ourselves engaged in this constant entertainment and distraction, we are actually feeding into the chaos.  What would we do in a space of complete quiet?   Is there happiness to be found in stillness?

Yoga is one path towards this stillness.  It is an ancient practice that brings people towards connection with their “Divine Nature”,  and to people who have found Yoga, their yoga mat is the tool they reach for to bring them back to the stillness and happiness that is inside each of us. Yoga is a complicated practice to describe in a small article, but mostly simply, it is a way of life.  It consists of a physical practice of stretching the body (muscles and nerves), control of the breath (which is a direct link to the nervous system and stress relief), concentration and meditation, and rules to live by such as non-violence in thought, word and deed.

In a yoga studio, students sit on their yoga mats and wait for the teacher to lead them through poses, focusing on breathing and moving, to let go of the world for a moment and seek connection to the clarity  that comes when our minds are quieted.

A simple mat made of rubber, the yoga student’s mat becomes like a best friend.  It is there for you when you need it.  It sees you on your best days and can bring you through your worst.  It sees you when you are weak and tired and struggling through the yoga class.  It sees you when you are strong and confident, and it accepts you as you are every time.  You can sweat on it, roll it up, and throw it in your car.  You can forget about it and forget about yoga altogether, and every time you want to come back, it is waiting for you- just as the stillness is waiting inside of you.

You may be working extra hours at work, or struggling with the responsibilities of life.  The exhaustion of the day may be screaming for you to sit in front of the television or shut yourself off from those around you. But what you really need is to find a yoga mat– your tool to happiness- your tool to remind you to get back to what is most important in life.  And being healthy and happy inside does not mean bigger, better, faster, it means doing what you love, being around people who make you happy, and really living life to its fullest.  This is what yoga reminds us all to do.

If you try yoga- you will find you have the power to slow yourself down, return to your breath and the gift of life that rides in on every inhale. I wish you peace and happiness on your new journey to fight the chaos by finding the stillness inside you.

-K.Western 2012