January’s focus was pranayama. Loosely translated, prana means life force and yama means control. In the yogic tradition, pranayama refers to different methods of controlling breath which is a representation of one’s life force or energy. Rather than thinking about controlling breath and energy, I like to think more about being efficient. Now in our culture, efficiency has a connotation of being good at getting lots of things done in a short period of time. I think of efficiency as not wasting energy and directing it towards important things.
I remember seeing a representation/drawing of prana “leaking” and it was a person with all of these arrows shooting energy out of their body in every direction. The next picture was of the goal of a yoga practice and it was the same person but the arrows were reversed, pointing inwards. I definitely could and can relate to the first picture. I have learned over the years that being a chronic multi-tasker really means doing a lot of things at the same time and none of them particularly well. It is also exhausting. I must admit that even after practicing yoga for 20 years I still don’t quite understand exactly how it works but I know that it does. I have learned slowly, through yoga practice and life experience to be more efficient with my energy and to focus more on the present moment.
I will always remember the first time I heard Karen’s OM alarm go off. We were sitting in her office talking a mile a minute about a bunch of different things and here phone started to OM. What is that? She said it was her OM alarm. Every time here alarm went off, she would pause and take a deep breath. At first I thought it was the silliest thing I had ever heard but then the next time it went off, I paused and took a deep breath. Suddenly, I felt clearer, more focused, and calm. Maybe there is something to this, I thought. So now, when I start to feel my energy shooting out in every direction, I try to think of that alarm. I stop and take a deep breath. Thanks Karen!
I am and probably always will be a multi-tasker. I don’t expect nor do I want to change who I am but can and do benefit from lessons in “less is more”. Or more specifically, how to focus and be more efficient with my energy so I don’t waste it on things that don’t matter and spend it on things that do. It has been so much easier to do this while traveling this past month in Mexico. It is infinitely harder to do now that I am back home. As I gear up for the next few months full of events, teacher training, cafe, and teaching, All I can do is remember to be present, to take things one step, one breath at a time, and prioritize the things that are important. I need to stay grounded and focused. Excuse me for a moment, OMMMM, deep breath, um what was a saying?