Over the past few years, I’ve added Bikram Yoga to my life. I find, like Aikido, the practice of Yoga offers many lessons on and off the mat.

Relax Your Mind

One of our teachers ends each 90-minute hot yoga class with a reminder to relax your mind. She first leads us through a body scan in which we relax all of our body parts, one by one.

At the end she says, “Relax your mind, relax your mind, relax your mind.” I find this much more difficult than relaxing my body, but her words and tone of voice really help. My mind lets go.


Of course the busy “monkey mind” starts up again immediately, but that moment of peace offers a glimpse of what things could be like. Plus it serves as a reminder during the day.

Right now. Relax your mind.

Stay Right Here

Another of our instructors uses this phrase: Stay right here.

Similar to “relax your mind,” it brings me to this moment. When I hear it, I’m usually in Savasana, the resting pose, thinking about what’s next, what I have to do when I get back to work, or some worry or other that has captured my fleeting attention.

Stay right here. This is the ki moment. This is the only moment that really exists. This Now.

I settle. I become present. It’s a gift.

Be As You Would Wish to Seem

A quotation by Socrates, “Be as you wish to seem” comes to mind when I hear these reminders.

· Relax your mind.

· Stay right here.

I can do it. And when I jump back into busy-ness, I can reclaim the experience of presence whenever I want. Like Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba said, I will also get faster at finding my way back.

O’Sensei — Great Teacher — as Ueshiba was called, wasn’t centered all the time, but the spaces between his centeredness became shorter and shorter, so that observers only saw the centered Ueshiba.

Now. Relax your mind. Stay right here. Ah! Feelin’ Good.

Photos courtesy of Bikram Yoga Portsmouth.

Written by

Judy Ringer is the author of Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace and Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict.

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