Yoga in Practice: Time Management

By: Paul M. Jerard Jr.

You learn many things in a Yoga class, such as: Living in the present moment; but how can you put your Yoga into practice in todays hectic world? We learn to meditate so the mind will stop multi-tasking, but once you leave the Yoga studio, or ashram, you have to face the world again.

So, how do you take the soothing effects of your Yoga practice and apply them to the rest of your day? Develop a system where you use your time wisely. This is the wisdom of time management, as applied to real life.

Were not discussing a catch phrase, or short-term solution, where a manager goes to a one-day workshop on time management, and then comes back lecturing his, or her, staff, about their time management.

The irony is that, most of the time, this type of manager is aware of time management because he, or she, wastes plenty of time. This usually goes on until the next workshop, and then management will learn a new catch phrase to tell the staff what they are doing wrong.

What we are discussing is a lifestyle, and possibly a big change, just like the first time you visited a Yoga class. In a nut shell, we have limited time on this earth and we cannot afford to waste it thinking about future worries, past regrets, fighting with loved ones, or leaving goals on hold.

Most of us leave dreams, goals, relationships, and ambitions on the back burner, while the daily routine of life goes by. No wonder people complain about the monotony of daily tasks. Very often, we hear, I dont have time to learn new skills, go to night school, practice Yoga, or become a Yoga teacher.

Remember when you were a child and life seemed to go by so slowly? You had time to play, watch television, listen to the radio, and lay around, without a care in the world. Now, welcome to adulthood, life is flying by at a rapid pace, and goals sometimes seem further away than ever before.

Your starting point is today. All you have to do is write your list of tasks for tomorrow. This is commonly called a to do list. You can post it on a piece of paper, on your desktop, in your PDA, or anywhere you will refer to it in a day.

To be honest, I put the piece of paper in my pocket and refer to it during the day. Sometimes, the lesson plan for my next Yoga class can be found in my pocket, too. This is a reflection of my time line, and my generation, but my son would put it on his PDA. Whatever you choose is fine, as long as you refer to it, and get something done.

Notice, I did not say get everything done. Somehow, life throws us curves and your well laid plans may not fit into the daily time frame. You learn this in your Yoga practice too. It is absolutely necessary that all of us accept change. These days, change occurs on a daily basis, so there is no need to become tense about it. This explains why so many corporate fitness centers have Yoga, or meditation programs, for their employees.

Be prepared to make modifications to your plans or turn on a dime. Deadlines should be taken seriously, but sometimes life gets in the way. There are times when the path you are on will have to be altered. So, be prepared to have a backup plan.

Remember the Serenity Prayer: "God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference." It goes without saying, that you will waste a lot of time and energy, if you dont know the difference.

The next point to cover is when to multi-task. What is this? You say, This doesnt sound very Yogic. Yoga refers to unity or union, and we must exist in harmony with life as it is today. The mind naturally multi-tasks so, lets make the most of our time.

In ancient times people multi-tasked, too. Why else would people around the world practice meditation for thousands of years? Why else would the people of India practice Yoga for over 5,000 years? Stress was one of many things our ancestors, and the ancient Yogis, have in common with us, and we know that stress is a killer. Most likely stress is linked to every ailment that connected to mankind.

True irony is when you consider planning time, and start to make excuses why you dont have time to manage, or plan, your time wisely. If you like to watch television, you could do a little planning at the same time. Ideally, it is best to be totally focused, thinking clearly, and be in a quiet place when planning time.

However, there are other forms of multi-tasking you can do such as listening to an audio book in the car, using an exercise bike while watching television, and reading or listening to books while traveling. There are a number of Yoga, and Yoga philosophy audio books, available.

On the other hand, we know multi-tasking can go too far. I will never forget commuting into Boston, stuck in traffic, and seeing a guy next to me reading a newspaper on his steering wheel! Within the same month, I saw a motorist driving with a hamburger in one hand, and a milk shake in the other, while driving through stop and go traffic on Interstate 95!

Were not considering reckless multi-tasking, but consider combining tasks that dont require 100% focus. For example, you cannot focus entirely on an audio book while driving, and you may have to listen to it quite a few times before you mentally digest all the material.

For this very reason, you should not consider listening to, and concentrating on, meditation audio books, while driving your car or operating machinery. Yoga philosophy is one thing, but trying to listen to or practice with a meditation audio book, while driving, is quite another. Therefore, be very careful about the safety factors involved in multi-tasking.

Another point to cover is logistics. When you consider where you are going, always plan to avoid back tracking. For example: If you are picking the kids up from school and have to get groceries, make it into a combined trip. If you make it into two trips, this is truly a waste of time. Therefore, plan your trips, whether they are time spent in a car, riding a bike, or walking.

Lastly, make time for family, friends, and loved ones.

Unify your time for a balanced life. Life is not, all work and no play, but life is not sitting around living the life of a couch potato. Remember one of the best excuses for not attending a Yoga class: I dont have the time.

Copyright 2005 Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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Paul Jerard is the director of Yoga teacher training at Aura in RI. Hes a master instructor of martial arts and Yoga. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness. He wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students wanting to be a Yoga teacher.

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