Measuring Time

Why does it feel so luxurious to wake up with the sunshine when camping, even if it is very early in the morning? Why do we feel so much anxiety around the possibility of being late for work? Why does it feel different when you set out to be in a yoga posture for ten breaths or for one minute?

The situations above are examples of the value of listening to organic and internal measurements of time. We are always ‘on time’ when we are following the breath. We wake up properly rested when we turn off the alarm clock and let our internal rhythm tune in to the rhythm of the day. We are productive when we begin and end our workday based on the amount of work to be done and not based on the clock.

When I teach postural yoga classes part of my job is to mediate between internal and external measurements of time. I instruct the duration of poses in terms of the number of breaths we will spend there and I instruct transitions between postures on an inhale or an exhale. The breath is an internal measurement of time. It is organic and natural and slightly different for each student. I mediate between this kind of time and ‘clock time’ so that class begins and develops and ends on time according to agreed upon external measurements of time.

Watches and calendars and alarm clocks allow us to operate collectively within our society. They are not about to disappear. However, try to find more opportunities in your life to mediate between these external measurements of time and your own internal and organic rhythms and patterns. Notice how this feels.

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