Zen: a state of calm attentiveness in which one’s actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort. Well, that is according to Merriam-Webster, but for a lot of yogis, the feeling of “Zen” is an essential aspect of their practice.
At the beginning of class, yogis bring their metaphorical baggage into the studio. Whether it be a stressful workload, issues with significant others or even just self-doubt, those issues fade into the air throughout the class. By the time it ends, you may feel as if you are in an ethereal state.
As good as it is to feel that sweet yoga-induced tranquility every once in a while, there are certainly ways to incorporate the feeling of Zen into your daily life.
When you feel overwhelmed: ground yourself
If you love the feeling of being grounded into the earth during your savasana, try to ground yourself throughout the day; find a way to touch the earth without any barriers. If you are feeling overwhelmed or if life might be moving too fast, try to take off your shoes and indulge in the feeling of the bare earth connecting with your feet.
When life doesn’t seem to slow down: yogi breathe.
Many people, especially students or those in the workforce, are always on the go, shuffling from class to meetings to events.
Penn State alumna Carrie Johnson, who has been an avid yogi for 20 years, strives to incorporate yoga practices into her life. Johnson includes breathing exercises into her day to slow down the pace of her hectic schedule.
“I use breathing techniques I have learned in yoga to help with daily stress or challenges. It is calming and helps me to be present at the moment,” Johnson says.
“I have learned [through yoga] that stressing about the past or future is often a waste of time — that we only have control over the present moment. I find that to be very helpful when I am stressed about things that may or may not happen in the future.”
Feeling physically or emotionally tense? Stretch.
In college, tensions are always high — whether it’s homework, strains on relationships or even your shoulders aching from carrying a 50-pound weight on your back to class. While yoga is beneficial for your health, it is also suitable for your joints. If you feel any tension, try to do some stretches throughout the day. Spending a few minutes each day in child’s pose or downward dog could relieve that feeling.
Leaving a yoga class helps you feel far more relaxed than when you entered. Johnson calls this feeling her “yoga bliss.” Regardless of what you call it, it’s essential to make sure you can achieve that feeling outside the studio as well. With these few practices, you can reach your Zen regardless of your surroundings.