Dedication & Flexibility: Yoga in the Field

Whatever your cause, you have to be dedicated. You can’t expect to see results overnight. We might not even see all the outputs of our work in our lifetime: they  have lasting results over decades and centuries. Project evaluation in the NGO world might take place over 6 months, a year, and upto 30 years. Of course we will never know all the outputs of a particular action, as they might have lasting effects for decades and centuries. This means that even though you don’t see expected results immediately, you have to keep at it. Peace work require dedication.

Yoga requires you to be dedicated too. You can learn this dedication by practicing your own yoga and gaining some individual inner peace. Set aside a time daily–perhaps just 10 or 15 minutes–to sit in meditation or do simple stretches. Maybe a few rounds of sun salutations first thing in the morning will help energize you for your day’s work in the field. This might be hard when you’re traveling a lot, as I did for the last month: from Costa Rica to Riga, Tbilisi to Vienna, and all over Germany before heading to California, I was often in hostels and hotels, or on the road in a train.

Now, back in California, I decided that I must practice yoga every day, through pranayama, dhyana, or asana. Every morning, I’ll spend some time (about 30 minutes) before I begin the rest of my packed day. It takes 20 days to make or break a habit.

So with this blog posting, I’m dedicating myself to myself and my practice of yoga. I promise to practice yoga every morning for the next 20 days. I know that creating this habit, I won’t even remember what my previous morning routine was.

You might be thinking, “I don’t have 20 days in a row where I can spend 30 minutes to myself. I’ve in the field right now and for the next 2 years. I’m putting in long hours and I get a few days off every so often.”

Yes, peace work might have you stuck in a bomb shelter for a few days on end, or working round-the-clock non-stop for a few days. Maybe you’re a doctor on-call, caring for your patients and you just don’t have time to breath.

Where’s the time for your daily yoga routine? Well, in this case, it is important to also remember that yoga teaches flexibility.  Not just physical flexibility–yes, it’s great if you can stick your legs behind your head. But moreover, flexibility in your dedicated practice.  Perhaps while you’re showering or brushing your teeth, you stand in tree pose. Perhaps it means you take just 1 minute out for yourself in the morning and breath–because yes, you DO have the time to breath. Once you start that practice, you’ll find that it’s easier to continue breathing consciously throughout the day, and this can help you to relax and react to crisis situations in a more effective way.

Have you been inspired to be dedicated in your yoga practice? Have you started a yoga practice? If you have a yoga practice you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you!

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Namaste. This section will begin to explore sanskrit terminology associated with yoga. First word: Namaste. This is a salutation, "I salute the light within you that is within me also."
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