Yoga and Plain Exercise-What Is the Difference?
When you are doing an exercise routine, you are doing just that. You are doing a routine by rote, many times thinking of other things as you are doing the repetitive motions. Day to day problems may be clouding your mind, what will I have for dinner, what can I do to help Billy or Suzy bring up their grades, or when in the world will I have time to go grocery shopping? This is plain exercise. Practicing Yoga not only helps your body become more flexible and fit, it also is designed to calm your spirit and give you a new sense of awareness.
What is awareness? That is something that is hard to describe. You might have had flashes of awareness in your life, it's like a light bulb turns on and you have an "ah-ha" moment. Yoga is designed to make this happen more frequently and gives you the capacity to be more alert to your surroundings or what your body is saying.
Awareness is living in the present moment. It's even more; it's realizing your place in the now. If you are experiencing the moment and enjoying that moment for what it is, you are experiencing awareness. Awareness allows you to focus on your surroundings, feel the muscles in your body responding to either the tension of the moment or the total relaxation you feel.
There isn't any place for daydreams or fantasies in the state of awareness. If you are truly aware of your present surroundings, living in the moment, you won't need to daydream. You'll be too busy to enjoying the moment you're in. If you lose your center, and allow your emotions to run rampant, you are likely to go somewhere that has nothing to do with reality. Events around you make sense when you have a heightened sense of awareness, even if they aren't pleasant. Awareness goes hand in hand with serenity.
Your Yoga routine quality is directly affected by your awareness. When you are practicing your pose, concentrating on your breathing, and finding that inner calm we all have, we are aware and the limitations on your mind falls away and you find your inner calm. You might be surprised at what new insights you will find when you allow full awareness to take over.
You can take that sense of awareness that you are learning in Yoga to help you in your everyday life. Being at one with your surroundings gives you a peace and serenity. You can look around you and notice the beauty in ordinary items. You can enjoy the simple pleasures of everyday sounds. Can you hear how beautiful the wind chimes in your yard as it whispers its melody? The birds singing in the tree next door, or maybe the sound of a child laughing while playing in a nearby yard are all sounds that we can experience in a deeper sense by allowing ourselves to live in the moment. Awareness is part of the ultimate goal of Yoga.
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