For many people, the word "yoga" doesn't mean much more than a few stretches and breathing exercises. But once you've practiced yoga for a while, you begin to understand that yoga is so much more—it can be a lifestyle, a spiritual practice, and I find yoga in those fleeting moments when I'm able to stop my mind chatter and just be.
There are actually a lot of activities that help me to get in the zone, be in the moment, relieve stress, and induce a very similar feeling to an hour on my mat. And while they might not be the first things that come to mind when someone says they're going to do yoga—for me, it's all one and the same. I notice myself practicing "yoga" everywhere. Here are a few examples:
Nature Yoga. Sometimes just being in awe and taking in the beauty of the natural world is an antidote to all the stresses and worries that so often float around in my head. The trees, the beach, the fluffy clouds, and the sunshine are all reminders of something bigger than my trivial worries. Being out there in nature helps me to connect with it in a way that's a lot like a seated meditation practice.
Writing Yoga. Sometimes it's incredibly hard to find the right words, other times it all just flows. It's in those moments of "flow," when a creative energy just takes over. Time passes. And when I'm done, I feel accomplished (and sometimes a little exhausted, too) like I just finished a challenging arm balance practice.
Knitting Yoga. There's something strangely meditative about feeling yarn flow through my fingers as I loop it over needles. Knit. Purl. Knit. Purl. It sounds a lot different from Om Namah Shivaya, but the feeling is the same.
Dog Park Yoga. When I want to see an example of how to really live my yoga, I look to my funny, asymmetrical-eared terrier mutt. She is playful, happy, fully present, and loves practically everyone she meets. Taking her to the dog park reminds me of my connection with other living beings and it helps me savor the best moments in life.
Kitchen Yoga. Cutting vegetables, kneading dough, eating food prepared with love, and even washing dishes in sudsy water can be an experience of mindfulness for me.
Cupcake Yoga. No explanation necessary.
What activities or tasks feel most like yoga to you?