Lessons from the yoga mat: Stop dwelling in duality and develop focus

A few days ago as I was checking my Facebook feed, I came across a video interview of BKS Iyengar, in which he talks about how yoga helped him deal with “duality”. The thought struck me. It reminded me of my own tryst to get to my mat every day.

Even though I enjoy my practice, it is not easy to get to the mat. It is not easy to change the habit. Every morning I find myself explaining to my body the benefits of yoga so that I can get to my mat. There are days, I have to literally drag my body on to the mat. At times, I have to tell myself that if I get my practice done, I will have better focus at work. Some days, I am not successful at all and tend to give in to my body.

Although it takes a while, once my body wakes up and starts experiencing the benefits of being on the mat, it thanks my mind. Yet, the debate goes on every morning. This simple exercise of getting to my mat, teaches me a simple lesson that once we stop dwelling on duality and bring our minds to a clear focus, we can enjoy and accomplish many things.

“Duality in our mind” is the root cause of procrastination and unhappiness. Sometimes, we may finish a task but we don’t enjoy it. While we continue to do the work physically, our mind tends to wander elsewhere. This is where yoga helps, when I am on my mat, doing asanas or meditation I learn to focus on my thoughts and body movements. Those brief moments in which my mind becomes focused on the present moment, I experience an inner joy. In those moments, I am just flowing with my true nature.

This is how yoga and meditation change your life. While the physical benefits are tangible and can be easily assessed, it is the mental benefits that bring about change in the long run.

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My Morning Routine

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Sunrise at Marine Drive, Mumbai

It’s been a while since I updated on the site. I have been busy with assignments. While I could find time to update, I simply didn’t because I thought I have nothing very important to stay. I have been enjoying the simplicity of my life. However, as I came across this blog on morning routines, I thought of writing one myself.

These days I work from home so I don’t have to stress in the morning about getting ready for office. While I could wake up at a leisurely pace, I try not to. I try to stick to a sort of morning routine so that I remain focused. And for the most part it is helping me to accomplish more every day.

While I have always liked the idea of a morning routine, mine has changed a lot as I have moved across cities and continents and life stages. For past few years, my morning routine has involved going to the gym and getting my morning exercise fix. I always feel more energetic in the morning so I try to pack up a lot. However, as I am progressing in my minimalistic journey, I realized that I need to simplify my routine so that I can do things that I will make me more focused through the day.

These days my morning routine consists of either going for yoga in the mornings (I try to do it 2-3 days a week) and a morning walk, which I am still working towards. It has been raining in Mumbai so haven’t been able to make time for it. On days, I am not able to exercise, I try and write, which I don’t succeed with as I end up reading. So I need to work on that. Some days I just wake up and meditate for 30 min, which is really helpful in focusing my mind.

I also like making my own breakfast. Making breakfast is very special to me. I think an energy rich breakfast really leads to a good start for the day. It’s also a way for us to love our bodies.

I start my day either with a savory or a sweet breakfast. My breakfasts are usually simple to make but I try to make them nutritious. While earlier I used to have lots of options for breakfast, these days I am minimizing them so that I am not spending a lot of time making breakfast. I think I should try and conserve that energy and pour into my writing.

Along with my breakfast I also try to have a raw juice and tea or coffee. I am actually a tea person, but occasionally I like to have coffee in my French press. After a few days of coffee though, I feel that I have had too much caffeine in my system. So I am going to put a stop now to it.

But it’s good to simplify my mornings and move at a slower pace rather than feeling stressed. I definitely tend to spend a lot of time reading news – online and offline and too much time on social media. I recently read Leo Babauta’s book Zen to Done and I quite like his advice about finishing our most important items (tasks) of the day before going on social media or reading. It is good to avoid reading and getting more stimulation in your mind before you have had the time to create yours.

So this is my morning routine a way to nourish my body and mind. So what’s your morning routine?