Using Our Time… Wisely

Is there a way to live that frees us from longing for more time, misusing the time we do have,and then blaming a lack of time for our discontent? Bo Forbes, clinical psychologist, yoga teacher, and integrative yoga therapist in Boston, believes there is. Bo believes we bring greater awareness to the way we experience time by building small steps into our daily routine that help us savor our life. So how do we do that?The first step is to look inward and get to know ourselves better, known as svadhyaya,or self-study, one of the ethical principles of yoga.. It teaches us to feel the difference between our own natural rhythms and the cadence of the world around us. It can teach us what’s practical and healthy to focus on, and what we may need to delegate or drop. We begin our self-study by asking ourselvesquestions like these: Besides eating and sleeping, how do I allocate my time in a typical 24-hour period? Do the activities on which I spend most of my time nourish me, or do they feel obligatory? Do I put others’ needs first, only to suffer a resentment hangover? When I long for more time, what do I imagine doing with it?

As we considerthe answers, we’ll begin to identify the activities that are important to us as well as the pace that’s most compatible with our own organic rhythms.

Once we’ve taken a closer look at where our time goes and begun to know our priorities and pace, we’re ready to explore the yogic principle of satya, or truth. When we know what our truths are, we’re more likely to acknowledge when we’re moving through the world in ways that don’t fully honor those truths.

There’s a saying in Buddhism: Delusions are inexhaustible. If we are constantly running from one thing to the next in a way that makes us feel depleted, then sooner or later we need to acknowledge that the ideas we have about what we can accomplish are out of sync with the reality of our lives.

Once we taste how rejuvenating extraordinary time can be, we’re more willing to let go of our hold on linear time. Most of us live in linear, chronological time, with its clocks and deadlines and pressures. A steady diet of this kind of time starves the most vital, alive, and essential parts of us. But there’s another, richer kind of time: extraordinary time. It’s a state of intense focus, of being in the moment. And that’s where the yogic principle of aparigraha,nongrasping, comes into the picture. Aparigraha teaches us to let go of the need to produce more, achieve more, acquire more. It motivates us to relax our iron-fisted grasp on material or measurable accomplishment.

When we’ve looked within and taken our time inventory, been truthful with ourselves about our ideal pace and focus, embraced the art of nongrasping, and experienced extraordinary time, we’re ready to bring the “timefulness practices”into our lives. The heart of these practices is yoking our awareness to the moment; each and every moment holds the potential for a transformative experience of time.

The followingis taken directly from Bo Forbes article, Strapped for Time? Try radically changing your relationship to the clock.

Upon Waking

Savor the transition between sleepand wakefulness. That’s when dreams and intuitive impulses are more availableto you. Set an intention to bring more awareness into your day and to be opento each moment.

Before Work

Take a moment to really say goodbye to loved ones. Look them in the eye and let yourself feel how much you care for them and how fortunate you are to have them in your life. Relax and breathe when you stop at red lights or take a short “mindfulness detour” through a park or scenic area. Decide to savor even the most menial tasks ofyour day or to eat lunch unhurriedly.

Between Tasks

Take an aparigraha break. Rushing from one task to another without savoring a sense of completion only contributes to the illusion that nothing is ever enough. When you’ve finished something, pause to feel the sense of completion and the energy of non-grasping.As you inhale, welcome more energy into your body; as you exhale, let go of what you’ve completed.

Back Home

Spend 15 minutes in a restorativeyoga pose to reconnect with yourself. It’s a good way to bring more timefulness into your evening. If you feel restless, try forward-bending restorative poses like Supported Child’s Pose or Supported Reclining Twist, to calm your nervous system. If you’re depleted, restorative backbends like Reclining Bound Angle Pose are ideal.

Before Bed

Scan your day for any challenges youexperienced and let go of them. A colleague of mine who is a meditation teacher spends a few moments taking an inventory of his day. If he’s had a conflict with someone, he sends them compassionate thoughts and makes a mental note toacknowledge the person the next day. Spend two minutes in 2:1 breathing( exhaling for twice as long as you inhale), which calms the brain and readies you for sleep.

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