Things can get a bit crazy around Thailand at this time of year, and our patience can be tested. You may have to wait in traffic a little longer, you may get water thrown in your face when you least expect it and you may encounter some very loud, very happy Songkran revellers.
This year I think we should be the calm in the midst of the crazy Songkran storm. Let us not sweat the small stuff, let us delight in this unique celebration of Thailand’s New Year.
How can we do this, you ask? The answer is yoga.
Yoga is not all about being flexible; the increased flexibility you gain is just one of the benefits of practising. The other benefit you gain is a deeper understanding of using your breath as a tool for release, learning that the breath is not just an involuntary action that keeps us alive. The way you breathe and how you focus on your breath allows you to bring relaxation and shamata (calm abiding) into your everyday life.
The techniques you learn in yoga class help to build a habit of calm that can be taken with you off of the mat after class and integrated into your day-to-day life.
We all know that yoga and meditation are great ways to bring a little zen into our lives, but how long does that zen stay after you have finished your class? Do you get up off of your yoga mat straight after class and jump directly onto your phone or start gossiping about something amongst yourselves? Do you lose your temper as you leave the car park or get angry when they don’t serve you fast enough at your local café? Why fall into this habit when you can be a little more mindful and calm? Use the habits you learn on the yoga mat to become the example not the exception in this crazy modern world.
Even your most unspiritual friend will say to you when you are upset, “Just breathe, babe”. Although they don’t really know what they’re saying, they are on the right lines. Under the layers of busyness we carry around with us, we all have the tools and the ability to calm ourselves down.
The breath is your natural tool for relaxation, and the great thing about the breath is that it is with you at every moment of your life. The breath is not something you can accidentally leave behind at home – without the breath, you are in a bit of trouble – it is right there when you need it.
If you feel like the cogs in your mind are winding too fast and you are going to snap, take a moment, however long or short that moment is, and be 100% present with just feeling the breath moving in and out of the body. Feel the movement of the breath come, not just from the nostrils, but from the entire surface of the skin. Be receptive to the pores on the surface of your skin; the skin is the human body’s largest organ after all.
You will find that as you simplify the mind’s affairs to concentrate just on the breath and the body, the part of the mind that you are observing the world from will change too.
We have a ‘business’ part of the brain that is located in our frontal lobes, and it’s great to have it. We need it for list-making, decision-making and quick thought, but we do not want to be sitting in a busy brain 24/7 – that would be terribly tiring. When we are calm and relaxed we use a different area of our brain, located more in the centre, known as the monad. We can relax our mind back to this area by simplifying the mind’s affairs to focus on feeling the body breathe.
When we observe the world from the monad, brain activity slows down from busy beta brainwaves to alpha, the muscles of the body relax, the stress receptors in the body calm down and the general cue that the body reads from is softer and more relaxed, resulting in a calmer and happier you.
So get yourself to a yoga class, learn how to cultivate your own zen with your breath and take that lesson off of your yoga mat and into every aspect of your busy lives.
And enjoy Songkran. Water dries, laughter is free and nobody likes a Bah Humbug.
Kim White Yoga
One of the main motivations that drives Kim to teach Yoga is her desire to keep true, real Yoga alive; the propagation of Yoga for Yoga. She strives to achieve this through teaching and helping people fall in love with Yoga everyday. She gives you her yoga mind and yoga heart to guide anyone wishing to traverse the beautiful journey that is Yoga. Teaching group classes, private classes, yoga intensives & retreats across the Island.
Call +66 862 769 174