Sarasvati with yoga off the mat contemplation cards

Unitask, don’t multitask

Perhaps you have been taught about the benefit of multi-tasking, knocking over lots of things at once to get everything done. It is supposedly a way to be more efficient.

But if you are up in your head with the juggle and not really present with what you are doing, how does that feel?

Does it feel a bit out of control? Does it feel as though nothing gets done properly and that you never quite settle into one thing before moving to the next?

Have you tried uni-tasking instead?

Doing one thing simply and properly at a time? It is really all we can do anyway, and the stress of juggling from one thing to another not only robs us of time but means that we are juggling back and forth and not necessarily doing anything with full awareness.

Let me be clear.

You can eat breakfast and read the paper (or ipad/phone). Well yes you could, and I sometimes do so myself. But if you are fully present with eating your breakfast, notice how nourishing and pleasurable it is. Just eat to eat. Eat to nourish. Notice the flavours and textures.

Of course this is a practice in being mindful.

Compare this to having the distraction of a screen. Do you really even taste your food? Do you feel full and satisfied by your food? Perhaps not.

I’m not saying there are not some occasions where you might want to multi-task.

Maybe you can t talk to your mother on the phone at the same time as doing the ironing. There are some things that perhaps we don’t need to be so present for (haha, that would be the ironing, right?) but most people can tell if you are not giving them your full attention, and is that want you really want? It would be hard to write a blog post or work on a complicated problem while talking on the phone, wouldn’t it?

If you think about your day, think about how much more productive you are when fully focused.

Switch of your notifications and be present for what you are doing. It is win-win because life feels richer, you are present for more of it AND yes it really is more efficient than flitting from one thing to another.

And a focused mind is more easily dropped for meditation. A focused mind is more present and aware.

A focussed mind is more able to be observed from your natural state of inner freedom.

Try it and see for yourself. I’d love to know what works best for you.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start.

You can purchase your own set of these ‘Yoga off the mat, contemplations to enrich your practice’ cards from the store HERE and postage is free in AustraliaThey make a perfect gift too.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

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It is ALL my time

I remember writing about this in my book, ‘Yoga off the mat, freedom in everyday life’.

Over 20 years ago when I had young children, I remember getting through the day, getting everything done, so that I could sit down at night and have ‘my’ time.

It is not as though I didn’t enjoy my routine of work (part-time as a Medical Scientist back then), the children, bath time, story time, bed time and so on. Even though I had not discovered the mindfulness aspect of yoga in a formal way, I think I was okay at being fully with what was happening at the time.

At work I was focused on work.

At home I barely gave work a second thought.

I especially loved having cuddles and reading bedtime stories. And then I loved it when the children went to bed, there were probably still a few more household chores and then I got to have ‘my’ time. Does this sound familiar?

All it takes is a slight switch of perspective to realize that of course all our time is ‘my’ time.

We all have the same amount of time, the same 24 hours in the day. And we do have agency over how we spend that time. There are repercussions about choices we make in life, so of course young children need looking after. If we chose to study then we have to spend time doing the course work and assignments. Most of us have to work hard to pay the bills.  If we want to eat healthy home-cooked food, someone has to do the shopping and make the meals. Running your own business could take up every moment of the day if we let it. Can you see what I am getting at? We make choices, and then can have an attitude of it all being our time.

I know some people with busy lives who have ‘their time’ with a once a week yoga class, or with their regular walk, run or a swim. That is ‘their’ time. But it is only a slight change of attitude to recognize that the rest of the day is their time as well. It is all their time.

Maybe we can recognize that every moment of our life is ‘my’ time?

Wow, would that make a difference to how you feel as you go about your day? I’d love to know!

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these contemplation cards from the store HERE and also my book Yoga off the mat, freedom in everyday life HERE and postage is free in Australia.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

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Yoga off the mat contemplation cards to inspire your practice

Practicing contentment does not mean we can’t work towards change

This moment now is the one you have, so you have a choice to be content or not. Why not be content right now?

This doesn’t mean that you can’t work towards change (if you think that is desirable). Yes you can plan. You can figure things out, have goals towards change, do some work. And also be content with reality as it is right now, be content with the moment you have right now.

If your circumstances are not as ideal as you think they should be, or next time something doesn’t go the way you think it should, maybe you could bring this contemplation to mind and simply choose contentment?

  • Stuck in traffic? Can you be content? Maybe you can be okay with the slower pace and therefore not rushing? But that doesn’t mean you can’t also plan to allow longer time next time. Can you see how both these things are responses to the situation but you can still be content?
  • Waiting for someone? Instead of feeling frustrated and annoyed can you simply be content with your own company? Use the time for contemplation or meditation? Look around and see some beauty in the world around?
  • Don’t have your ideal job? Maybe it isn’t wise to walk away from it today, or maybe it is. If need be you can plan your next move, look around for what will work better for you. You can also be content with this moment right now. Your equanimity doesn’t have to be disturbed.

I know these examples are superficial but they are relatively common examples of daily life. Your circumstances might feel much more worthy of complaint than these.

The thing is, your external circumstances do not have to dictate your inner contentment. You can work towards changing your external circumstances if you want, and that does not have to affect your inner contentment and peace. It is always a choice you can make.

What about more difficult situations than the ones I described above? Maybe you are dealing with the untimely death of a loved one, or the diagnosis of a terminal illness? These are things we could expect to happen in life, they are the way things unfold, and some circumstances are much rougher than others. I am not meaning to come across as glib or suggesting for a moment that there wont be sadness and grief. Of course there will. These are life experiences that we all face.

Feeling intense feelings does not mean you can’t also be okay and find contentment.

That may seem surprising.Instead of asking ‘why me?’ perhaps the thing is to say to yourself, ‘why not me?’. And then get on with somehow accepting reality and finding contentment.

Now for a quick note about stress. With all the best will in the world to be content, we will still find that we can get stressed when life happens and things don’t turn out the we thought they would. Do take some time to practice long slow exhalations and ideally yoga, meditation and relaxation or whatever works best for you to counter the stress response.

While stress is a natural response it is not healthy to have those stress hormones running through your body, so it is important for your long term health to figure out some ways of countering it. Please let me know if you need some guidance with this.

Practicing contentment is a choice we can all make. I wish it for you.

Much more meaning than is teased out here can be taken from these cards, this is just a start. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

You can purchase your own set of these contemplation cards from the store HERE and postage is free in Australia.

The gorgeous original picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art.

Share and Enjoy !

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Yoga off the mat contemplation cards to inspire your practice

Do you Multi-task or Uni-task?

Do you multi-task or uni-task?

You can have a cup of tea while you are working or doing many other things. Or you can have a cup of tea and really enjoy the flavour and the experience.

That is the difference between uni-tasking and multi-tasking.

Thich Nhat Hahn in his lovely little book ‘The Miracle of Mindfulness’ reminds us that you can do the dishes to clean up and prepare for having a cup of tea, or you can do the dishes to do the dishes. There might not seem to be much difference, but doing one thing fully with awareness means not projecting into the future. It means being fully immersed of the experience. So be fully immersed into doing the dishes, then be fully immersed in making and drinking the tea. Can you see the difference?

So often while we are at work we might think about being at home or on holidays. Or while we are on holidays we might be thinking about a problem at work.

To the extent that we are in our heads about the past or future, that is the extent that we are not present, or not uni-tasking.

Yogis suggest uni-tasking, or being mindful, doing one thing at a time, for many reasons.

To be present with the simple pleasure of living life in a way that is present and aware.

To be able to observe the mind. A mind that is all over the shop is going to be hard to rein in and quieten down. A mind that is living in the past or the future for most of the time is not being present. A focused mind is easier to drop back from for meditation. A focused mind is one that will allow us to get perspective on life, being and reality.

Doing one thing at a time properly is more efficient, and not only that, it feels so much better too!

Fully immerse yourself the next time you eat something, eating slowly with full awareness of the flavours and textures, and see for yourself.

Think about what you want from life, and whether uni-tasking or multi-tasking is better for you. I’d love to know!

You can purchase your own set of these contemplation cards from the store HERE and postage is free in Australia. The picture on the front of each card is by Gayle Stone Art. I’d love your feedback and look out for my blog about the next card soon.

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