0 comments on “Savasana ~ A Great Pose for Practicing the Art of Doing Nothing”

Savasana ~ A Great Pose for Practicing the Art of Doing Nothing

“…every day, a little ‘bit dying.” Pattabhi Jois

Perhaps you’ve discovered, as I have, that you have some of your best do nothing time when you’re laying on your mat in Savasana (“Corpse Pose”).  For another take on the subject, check out the article “Find Serenity in Savasana” over at Yoga Journal.

And for an amazing analysis of savasana, click on the resting stick figure below:

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2 comments on “The Art of Doing Nothing”

The Art of Doing Nothing

Isn’t it nice to have those moments in life when you’ve checked off every last box on your agenda and can just let your mind and body relax?   I’m sure that happens to you all the time, right? Yeah, right.

Are you still waiting for all that free time to show up before enjoying the fruits of doing absolutely nothing? Do you know how to “do nothing?” Are you too busy or have too many thoughts running through your head to relax and enjoy those ever-present moments of  sweet nothingness?  Do you even know what that is?

For some, doing nothing is a waste of time, but for others it can be an art form that enhances their ability to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.  Follow this simple plan to master  the Art of Doing Nothing, and in the process improve your life, melt away  stress, become more patient, and make yourself more productive when you actually do have stuff to do.

Step 1:  Start small

Doing nothing, in the true sense of the word, can be overwhelming if you attempt to do too much nothing all at once.   Most of us simply don’t know what to do with ourselves when we have nothing to do, which is why it’s best to start small.  Focus on 5-10 minutes at a time, and start your practice sessions in a safe place — at home, not at work or in a busy public place.  Find a time and place where there are not many distractions, not much noise, not a lot of people to bother you.  Just make sure your surroundings are quiet and comfortable.

Step 2:  Remove distractions

Shut off all distractions — TV, computer, cell phones, regular phones, Blackberries, and the like.  I know this might feel impossible to do, but doing nothing is tough when you’re surrounded by blinking gadgets beckoning for you to do something.  Although you may initially get that panicky feeling that swells in your chest when you realize you drove all the way to the grocery store without a cell phone, I promise, it will be all right.  I’ve been there, and I lived to tell about it.

Now, close your eyes, and do nothing.   Do nothing.  Simple, huh?  Perhaps doing nothing is more of a meditative mindset than a physical possibility.  Of course, you’re always doing something — you’re sitting, you’re thinking, you’re breathing — but if someone were to call you and ask what you’re doing, of course you’d say, “Oh, nothing.”  But luckily you’ve already turned your cell phone off, so you don’t have to worry about pesky distractions or telling others that you’re busy doing nothing.

Just sit there for five minutes and do nothing.

This is all you have to do to attain a basic level of do-nothingness.  Commit to this practice for five to 10 minutes a day and observe what happens.  To take this practice to the next level, continue on to the next step.

Step 3:  Breathe

The first place to start to master this simple art is  with your breath.  If this sounds suspiciously like meditation, just remember you’re not meditating, you are doing nothing.  (Okay, you can call it meditation if you want to:)

First, breathe slowly in and slowly out.

Next, on the inhale, notice how the breath enters your body through your nose, journeys down to your lungs, and expands your diaphragm.

On the exhale, feel the lightness of the air as it slowly escapes the body.  Feel the satisfaction of empty lungs.  Try to do this for 5-10 minutes.

You may notice while you are doing nothing that your mind starts to tell you that you need to do something.  If it makes your mind feel better, go ahead and trick it by telling it that you are “doing” breathing.  The mind just wants something to do.  Of course, you’re not actually doing anything since you can’t help it whether you breathe or not.  You’re just letting the body do what it does naturally:  BREATHE.    No effort, no work, just simply doing nothing.

Conclusion

Amazingly enough, if you commit to just this little bit of doing nothing, chances are good that you’ll find that you like it a lot.   Of course you won’t become a master of the Art of Doing Nothing overnight, but once you become proficient with these simple steps, don’t be surprised to find yourself wanting more and more nothingness.  Doing nothing is not easy.  It takes practice.  But, if you commit to taking a few minutes each day to do nothing, it will become easy, natural, and a definite item to check off your daily to-do list.

[Inspired by Leo at Zen Habits]

4 comments on “Operation: FIND YOGA MAT (Baghdad)”

Operation: FIND YOGA MAT (Baghdad)


Location:  BAGHDAD

In recent posts, I’ve sort of alluded to the fact that I’m not currently building sand castles on the beautiful sandy beaches of Northwest Florida with my family, but instead I’m dodging roadside bombs and rubbing shoulders with terrorists in Baghdad, Iraq.  I’m sure Baghdad used to be an interesting, maybe even beautiful city at some point in ancient history, but living here now is comparable to taking up residence inside a vacuum bag.  Just my opinion, but there’s not a lot of redeeming qualities about Iraq in general.  I’m getting used to it though, and luckily don’t mind working 90 hour weeks most of the time.  That’s what attorneys do, right?

I work as the lone JAG (military attorney) in a small holding facility where detainees frequently make their first stop after capture to chat with our highly-trained interview specialists.  Needless to say, there’s absolutely nothing CNN-worthy that occurs at our facility.  It’s a very “dry” place…. that remains in operation and stands as a testament to the fact that an endless supply of murderers, extortionists, kidnappers, and corrupt politicians continue to roam the streets of Iraq.  It’s sad, but true.  I suppose it’s better than it was a few years ago.  Job-wise though, I get just enough action convoying with detainees to meet Iraqi judges to keep things exciting, but not so much action that I have to tell too many lies to my wife and mother when they ask me how my day went.

Operation:  FIND YOGA MAT

Anyhow, when I packed my bags and left home in early May, there simply wasn’t enough room for a yoga mat in my luggage.  I thought I’d be fine without it since I didn’t know what my living arrangements would be like or whether I’d have any time to unroll it and practice.  When I first got here, I started lifting weights again, which I hadn’t really done regularly since marrying my wife eight years ago.  Of course my wife loves it when I lift weights, and I wouldn’t say I don’t enjoy pumping a little iron, I mean heck, who doesn’t want a chiseled body, but honestly, I’m realizing that I’m not the same person I was eight years ago.  Weight lifting simply doesn’t carry the same physical challenge and mental solitude that I crave from running and yoga.  So now I run and practice yoga.  That’s where Operation:  FIND YOGA MAT begins.

I know I’ve heard of bases here in Baghdad that offer yoga to soldiers, but unfortunately the complex I live at doesn’t offer any yoga classes.  The first, and biggest challenge in doing yoga here so far has been figuring out where to get a mat. I had high hopes that one of the Post Exchanges would have something that would work as a mat substitute, but the best I could come up with was a thin, twin sized polyester bedspread that I thought might work if I folded it in half.  I decided to give it a whirl since it was only six bucks.  I live by myself, so I  rearranged my room to have an open space that’s perfect for doing yoga.  Unfortunately, after using the blanket a couple of times I quickly realized that doing downdog on the blanket might have been easier with roller skates on.  The blanket got especially slippery when I started working up a sweat.  That was one plan that didn’t work out.

Realizing the yoga blanket was merely a temporary fix, I talked to my wife about possibly folding up one of my mats at home and stuffing it in a box to send.  We decided it might just be easier to order a new mat so I began scouring the Internet for a cheap, lightweight yoga mat.   As I began shopping, I discovered that a limited number of sellers ship overseas, even to APO addresses.  Maybe I was just looking in the wrong places.  I was a bit discouraged until I chatted with my wife and she asked me if I’d looked at YogaAccessories.com.  I had run across it, but hadn’t looked very closely.  When I checked into the site a little bit further, I was pretty much sold when I read their mailing policy, which states:

We can ship any item to any address anywhere in the world!  At YogaAccessories.com, we are proud to support our men and women who serve in the US military by offering shipping options that include APO/FPO addresses.

That’s what I’m talking about.  How about a little love for the troops every now and then!  While they don’t sell expensive name brand mats like Manduka, Jade, or Hugger Mugger, their prices were very reasonable.  The Wal-Mart of yoga products I guess.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they have my newly ordered 5mm Eco-Conscious Yoga Mat delivered in a week or so.  Operation FING YOGA MAT (Baghdad) will soon be complete.  In the meantime, I’ll keep tearing up my vinyasa flow on the slip-and-slide blanket.

Mission Accomplished! (Almost)
0 comments on “New Home for Daily Cup of Yoga”

New Home for Daily Cup of Yoga


Yoga totally rocks!    Since I get so much enjoyment out of studying and practicing yoga and sharing my thoughts and discoveries with each of you here at Daily Cup of Yoga, I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about how to improve the site’s 1) resources, 2) user friendliness, and 3) aesthetics.  After mulling it over, and doing some research I decided that in order to make the necessary improvements and changes to Daily Cup of Yoga it needed its own web host and domain.

Though it’s been an off and on affair, I’ve been blogging here at Daily Cup of Yoga  for a little more than two years now.  Not to say that the site’s a smashing success or anything, but I suppose as far as low-tech yoga blogs go it has a decent number of readers who either check back to the site occasionally for updates, subscribe via RSS, or just stumble upon it during a google search.  Although I haven’t been particularly good about commenting on other people’s blogs, or even making follow up comments on Daily Cup of Yoga, I’ve run across a good number of yogis and yoginis who were kind enough to give me a shout out, leave an encouraging word, and share their own tidbits of wisdom.  Many thanks to all of you!!

So, without further ado, if you’d like to see where Daily Cup of Yoga is headed, please come visit the new  website (Update: actually, if you go there it will just route you back to here).  Of course it’s still a work in progress, but I’m confident it’s a step in the right direction.

Once again, thank you to all of you who read and comment and inspire me with your own stories that you share.  And to any new readers, I’m glad you found Daily Cup of Yoga and I hope you come back to share your own experiences and insights about yoga and life.

Now for a little Yoga love…

Yoga Sutra 1:12-14

12  Both practice and nonreaction are required to still the patterning of consciousness.
13  Practice is the sustained effort to rest in that stillness.
14  This practice becomes firmly rooted when it is cultivated skillfully and continuously for a long time.

Sit back, relax, remember to breathe and enjoy some classic footage of two masters of the art of yoga.

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