This post came to me when I was fighting a cold, wrapped up in two layers of blanket, tissue by my side and ready to share.
I shuffled into a yoga class, hoping the heat and movement would strike the ick from my system. In soothing dulcet tones, the teacher led us through a brief meditation on breathing, how to hone into our breathing.
“Inhale and exhale as an aware act. We breathe to survive, out of necessity. Instead of just taking the breath, make every breath an act of awareness.”
Such a simple idea, with life-changing effects. Today, on a beautiful Sunday, and as spring brings warm temperatures and blooms on the trees, the idea of living as an act of awareness echos in my spirit. Sunday is the day of the week that people begin to post memes about how “scared” they are that Monday is tomorrow, and with it the return to work. They joke that going to work will bring tears, stress, unhappiness, and they’re only living for the weekend. They are living their Monday through Friday as an act of necessity.
When you approach life with a spirit of gratefulness, you no longer see work or other obligations as a downer. I began taking yoga when I realized that this fear of an essential part of my life – my job – was taking over. The sense of dread that loomed over my spirit in the morning as I drove in and the sadness I felt on the way home after a mental beatdown became to much. My life was being lived out of necessity, not awareness.
In yoga teacher training, we started the day by stating our intention for the day. By focusing on how we felt, negative or positive, we named and claimed our disposition for the day. More often than not, we ended the day in a more positive headspace than in which we started.
In addition to setting an intention for the day, I recommend the following to start living your life as an act of awareness:
- Gratitude jounaling
- Move – I use the word move over exercise because whether it’s for the purpose of wellness or not, regular movement of your body makes you more creative and can be a building block to being more fit. Stuck in meetings all day? Make it a walking meeting.
- Find hobbies and interests that give you release.
- Spend time with friends and loved ones.
Purposeful living is an every day effort, and some days are easier than others. By taking an active role in your own life, you make the difference between deciding whether you dread every day or if you see every sunrise and sunset as an opportunity to feel awesome.