Transit Travelling Yogi

16 08 2009

subway yogaI commute everyday to my office via the public transit system here in Toronto, Canada.  For some just hearing the words transit or taking the bus, makes them cringe or shudder in disgust.  Well sure there are days that using public transit becomes trying and exhausting.  So much so that, at times I get impatient and want to just curse every person around me.  But its exactly times like these that great self learning opportunities present themselves.  Most people who are so attached to their cars and never would leave home without it, never experience this often overlooked opportunity to learn about life. 

For me taking public transit for numerous years now has really taught me alot about the human condition and the experience of challenges in daily life. 

 

Just today, I was sitting in a subway car, and it was packed tight with all sorts of people.  It felt like we were squished into a can like sardines. There was no opportunity to enforce the 2 feet of personal space rule we are all so very used to here in North America. 

 

It was simply a playground for the senses! 

 

Things and people to observe, and  glances to give and take.  Smells were overwhelming and one of the more challenging aspects of the ride, considering it was a hot and humid day here.  Many sounds were perceptible and depended on which I chose to tune into. From noisy ipods,to ringing blackberries, to endless corporate chatter from the exec types, to the snores of commuters who apparently didn’t get enough zzzz’s the night before. 

 

ALL this could sound like HELL to most people. But its all in how you perceive what is presented to you in the moment.  If you see irritation in the elbow in your face as your sitting there trying to read the morning news, than true enough you will be irritated. And you may then be inclined to sharply insult the guy who’s doing it, and that might escalate into a rather unpleasant confrontation.

 

 BUT, if you allow the possibility that its all part of the process than things seem to glide on smoother overall.  Just tell the guy his elbow is interfering with the stock stats your trying to check out.  He may even give you some tips on what to try next! BANG now your networking from what seemed like a total irritation! Thats the power of INTENTION and positive vibrational energy

 

I learn something each and everyday while taking public transit.  I’ve turned my commutes into yogic experiences. I’m a true travelling yogi, and I’ve gotten to a point that making most trips an adventure really creates a better journey overall. 

 

I learn alot about others, but in essence its really all my perception anyway.  So I essentially learn about the way I see others, and how I translate that is really based on my own filter.  Every thought, feeling or word spoken is really a projection of only ourselves.  Even when the external conditions feel like we are being insulted, or put in a place of pain or frustration , its ultimately our preception of it that will determine how we handle it. 

 

On the subway, I often become aware of my pre judgements when I encounter people who may seem not so pleasant at first glance.  Then they will do something, like smile a friendly grin and I feel like kicking myself for not smiling at them first.  Its these small nuances that though are subtle really have the power to turn my day, mood and outlook right around.  I invite them now, especially on Monday mornings

 

So here are some suggestions  on how to bring YOGA into your daily commute on public transit:

 

1)  Become aware of your FEET. Yes those 10 little toes can really help you ground yourself and feel the present moment wherever you are.  Whether you are sitting or standing on the bus or subway, begin to feel your feet pressing into the ground with all four corners i.e : Big toe, pinky toe and inner and outer heels.  Feel the firmness and begin to sense the solid ground beneath you. You connect, you feel stronger, and more aware of your inner being.  If you do this alone, you won’t even notice the smell of the old spice the guy behind you is wearing.

 

2) Take advantage of this time to just be able to close your eyes and listen to your BREATH.  Then begin to FEEL the breath expanding your lungs with each inhalation and releasing the expansion with each exhale out.  Tuning into the breath will bring you to the present moment, and a greater attunement with how your body is feeling. You can take this opportunity to relax and let go of tension.  This is both beneficial on the ride to work, and on the way home when you are wanting to chill from the activities of your busy day.

 

3) SMILE at others and for no particular reason but to just spread the joy you already have at your disposal.  Its really an interesting experiment.  When you smile, it really does affect your chemistry and energetic state. By smiling you can halt any negative or low feeling mood right around.  It also brings a positive vibe to the environment your in, regardless if the smile is returned or not.  

 

4) Make a friend!  Start with small talk and who knows where that might take you.  You never know who you may be sitting next to.  Connecting this way may bring you opportunities you never would have dreamed of on a subway or bus ride.  But the law of attraction does present itself in every moment and every place of our existence. Transit included.

 

As I looked out the window of the subway car I was riding in on my way home tonight, I saw the bumper to bumper traffic on the 401 highway.  I couldn’t help but smile.  The travelling yogi really appreciates what public transit offers.  Travel light, travel with joy and always bring presence into your daily life. 

Thats the way of the Travelling Yogi…..

Namaste

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7 responses

24 08 2009
Lynn Somerstein

Hi Travellling Yogi,
Although I don’t think I’d ever try scorpion on NYC’s #6 train, I do make it a practice to look into people’s eyes and smile sometimes, and also practice the yoga of giving my seat (MY SEAT? Who says it belongs to me? attachment, attachment) when someone looks like they could use a rest.
You are certainly making the most of your trip, and living your yoga. JAI!

24 08 2009
yogaheals

Awesome, thank you for responding! Yes giving up my seat is something I often do. I know there is someone who would benefit more than I would. Its also another way we can give of ourselves. Service, service service 🙂

9 09 2009
Lisa Joy

Hi hun! I know what you mean by all there is to take in on the TTC! If you’re not use to it, it can become overstimulating for the senses! I know when my fiance accompanies me from Hamilton to Toront & we take the TTC while in TO, he definitely feels overwhelmed by all the noises & everything! Thanks for the pointers, I’m sure he’ll find them helpful!

Namaste 🙂

9 09 2009
yogaheals

Hi Lisa!

A fellow Torontonian..welcome to my blog! Thank you for checking it out. Gotta love the TTC! I’m learning to chill more and more everyday, thanks to Yoga practice, prayer and meditation, and supportive people in my life! all the best

31 01 2010
A Red Lotus

thanks for the post. i spend more than fifteen hours a week underground commuting in nyc. it’s amazing what i’ll notice just with suggestion 1; i am surprised at how much i lose track of my feet. i’m not nearly as brave as you and lynn are with the smiles and conversations. 🙂

1 02 2010
Lynn Somerstein

I’m not really brave at all.
L

5 02 2010
yogaheals

You are brave! Everyone has the internal warrior that heals and shines pure love. You just have to core connect with it. I would love to help you find that brave one within 🙂 Namaste!

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