It’s safe to say that there are few yogis that inspire us more than the irresistibly lovable Duncan Parviainen. We first introduced you to him here on The Tig just a year ago with these six daily poses for rejuvenation, and today he’s back to remind us of the boundless power that yoga can have on our psyche and overall wellbeing. So whether your practice involves scorpion poses under a tropical waterfall (read: Duncan’s Instagram-worthy amazingness) or just some simple sun salutations to start your day, you can be sure that your body and mind will thank you for it. Namaste, indeed.

From Duncan

One early Sunday morning, while teaching a yoga class, I asked my students, “If you could have anything in the world right now, what would it be?” There were a variety of answers, but the two that were the most popular were: a million dollars and a vacation.

I continued, “Why a million dollars, why a vacation?” And it boiled down to, “So I can do what I want, so I can have freedom.”

Interestingly enough, I have students with enormous fortunes, who vacation often, and yet they, too, still crave this sense of freedom. Where does this feeling of being trapped stem from?

Most people live their life constantly reacting in an impulsive way to their environment. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because impulsive reactions can save us from getting hit by a car or help us win a debate. If we are always reacting in this impulsive manner, however, most of us feel like life is happening to us, we feel like a victim, we feel constantly stressed, we feel like we have no control over our emotions, and/or like we have no choice. How are we supposed to feel free?

Cue yoga! A great yoga class calms us mentally and physically; it slows down our reaction time and reminds us that a space can exist between something happening to us (stimulus) and our response. In this space between stimulus and response, we can choose if we want to yell and swear at the person who cut us off while driving, or simply give them a little honk.

That space, where we remember we have choice, is our freedom.

How do we grow this space between stimulus and response so we can feel more freedom, and choice in our life?

Breathe! Taking a deep breath is incredibly helpful. And always try following this response process throughout your day:

  1. Stimulus – Something happens to you.
  2. Space – Take a deep breath (or two), then choose how you’d like to respond.
  3. Respond.

It’s as simple as that, folks!