Basic Yoga Principles to Help You Find Your Calm Off The Mat

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Just this morning, I had another frenzied mother ask me how I stay so calm what with juggling two kids and work. I looked at her and smiled, thinking to myself, “If she only knew!”

But seriously, I think what helps me find calm, and honestly, I still have plenty of impatient moments, is the time I spend on the mat. I have learned through practice to listen and be aware of what my mind is saying, whether it is helpful or not, and then to take that into my day.

Give it a try with these 3 yoga principles to take with you OFF the mat.

1. Asteya, is a Sanskrit word meaning “non-stealing”. I’ve also seen interpretations of it meaning, “non-devaluing”, and I think both speak to the true meaning behind the word. Beyond taking something that isn’t ours, stealing can also be negative self talk, gossip, etc., anything that may “rob ourselves of the potential for joy, growth, and expansion.” Watch yourself this week and notice the moments when you may not be seeing others clearly, or talking negatively to yourself. What are you stealing?

2. Ahimsa, is translated as non-harm, or non-injury. Ahimsa is not only toward others but also toward ourselves, and often time the most harm we cause is to ourselves. Notice when you are over-committing, or pushing yourself beyond your physical or emotional limits. Learn how to be kind to yourself and set barriers that keep you safe.

3. Daya means compassion. During this time of year, we tend to think of generosity, yet at the same time we easily get agitated when someone takes our parking space or cuts in front of us in line. Practicing compassion means recognizing you don’t know if they realized what “harm” they caused you (and was it really harm?). You also don’t know what it is that they are going through, or what their story is. Instead of passing a glare, try a smile and see how much further it gets you.

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