It takes tenacity to live in a city like New York, where you are constantly inundated with distractions that can throw you off center. Piercing sirens, steamy subways, disgruntled people, mindless behavior. When I get triggered by these aspects of city life, I tend to create unconscious tension in my body, my mind.
When it comes to yoga, the practice is designed to throw you off balance in order to help you find balance. It creates stress to test your tenacity. Paradoxically, we create tension to release tension. And the result is that we bring more conscious awareness into the process of dealing with challenging circumstances while remaining calm and focused.
For myself, I consistently feel more centered as a result of practice... more at ease with whatever circumstances arise. A dear friend talked to me yesterday about her first yoga class in NYC many years ago. Her most vivid memory was noticing the effect of practice during the final rest. She could hear the sounds of blowing horns and street traffic below, but for the first time, it didn't bother her. She was able to stay relaxed amidst the noise of city life. It was a profound impression that remains with her until today.
BONUS: Here's a link to a song that I recently recorded... it's a song that I love to play at the end of class while students rest. Enjoy!