Today’s world moves at a fast-forward pace. We are constantly pressed for time – rushing through the day, honking through the evening traffic – until finally we can breathe a sigh of relief at the first glimpse of home.
Ironically, that sigh of relief triggers off the opposite reaction in the husband or wife at home. Hungry children have to be provided with tasty snacks (while sneaking in some nutritional content as well). The tired spouse needs a steaming cup of tea (and sometimes a little pampering of the ego). Then there are dirty socks that insist on crawling onto the sofa, school bags and brief cases spilling their contents onto the floor… the list is endless. No matter how hard we try, we are never fully prepared for the barrage of daily tasks that seem to pile on and on, leaving no time for ourselves.
The trick, of course, is to apply the Tom Sawyer logic to one’s everyday tasks- when you enjoy doing something, it ceases to be work. And this is where yoga comes in – just add a dash of yoga and relaxation techniques to your daily housework.
For example, rolling chapattis (flat bread) can be given a yogic element simply by paying attention to posture, standing erect and allowing the mind to focus only on the steady rhythm of the movement. Similarly, reaching for the salt on the top shelf can be transformed into a relaxing stretch simply by paying attention to the group of muscles working.
All one has to do is find a housework that takes half an hour or so and cultivate total awareness of the body while performing these activities.
Breathing deeply and diaphragmatically is a good place to start. For example, while ironing, you may become aware that you are scrunching your neck and compressing your spine while bending toward your iron. You can extend your feet and plant them firmly on the ground and it is better to bend from the hips rather than the back. Soon, you will get into the flow of ironing, breathing deeply, hips bending a little as you flex and stretch – and the hour of ironing will pass without you even realizing it.
Once you learn to become aware while doing household tasks, it is easy to apply it to other areas of action, such as climbing the stairs or walking in the street. As you start applying the principles of yoga to everyday aspects of your life, you will stop thinking of your daily tasks as chores. More importantly, you will have greater positive energy that will help and influence every member of the family.
(Written by Andrea Jeremiah, this article is reproduced from Rishimukh – the Art of Living magazine.)