As I always maintain, yoga is not limited to just physical fitness or health; it is also about achieving mental peace, developing greater compassion and control, and the striving for evolution of the soul. One aspect of this inner evolution is to try to move away from our harried lifestyles, where we find it difficult to cope with situations and never seem to have time to do all the things that need to be done.
A challenge for the committed yogi
In our highly regimented lives, things happen according to the minute hand of the clock – waking up, taking meals, leaving for work, attending meetings, returning, going for yoga classes in Mumbai (or wherever else you may be), going to bed and all else that we do during a day. We may not always be on time, but we certainly have one eye on the clock at all times.
Given that most of us seem to live our days, in fact our lives by the clock, this is my challenge – try to spend just one day without looking at the clock (of course that would also mean giving up our electronic gadgets for the day). Call it a detox challenge – give it a try.
It will be scary and disorienting
It may not be possible to do on a working day; at least not at first. So try it on a Sunday or holiday to begin with. Switch off all gadgets, remove the batteries from the wall clocks and put all wrist watches out of reach. Not knowing what time it is, will be very unsettling; even scary. It will be disorienting and confusing. You will have to really listen to your body and its inner workings instead. Most of us are out of touch with the silent signals that our body sends us, so this may be the real challenge here.
But it will be liberating as well!
When you get over the being-scared-and-disoriented part, you will likely feel quite liberated (keeping away from gadgets is extremely liberating I have found). You don’t feel compelled to do things simply because the numbers on a screen or the hands of a clock say it is time to do them. You are not shackled to routine, habits and schedules.
Rather than the alarm clock awakening you, you will wake up when you are rested and your body is refreshed. You will eat when you actually feel hungry rather than when the clock tells you to do so. Without one eye on the clock you may decide that it is not yet time to tackle all the million and one things that need doing; perhaps you just want to spend some time with your children in the park, going for a walk, gaze at the stars, paint a picture or read a book… just doing something because you want to do it; not because it is time to do it!
A day without looking at the clock
The problem is that we have stopped actually listening to our bodies when we should be doing this. We should be listening and reacting accordingly. You may actually be quite surprised at how well your body clock is able to guide you through the day. You may find that the clock on the wall is really not that necessary to our lives; that it really doesn’t have to control our actions as much as it does.
Without the clock dictating your actions, you will find that you are doing things more mindfully, with greater focus. You’re enjoying things more and are less distracted by extraneous matters. After all, mindfulness and committing to the here and now is a part of yoga!