A series to examine how Yoga can help us to show up more fully in life on & off the mat…
Although I have been teaching Mind/Body disciplines for the last 16 years, it is mind blowing to me how I am always intrigued and fascinated on the subject of the Mind/Body connection. I feel now more than any other time in our history that we need to incorporate some type of breath based movement into our lives in order to ground us, improve the quality of our attention, and ultimately help us to lead happier more fulfilled lives. Through this series and the practice of Yoga, we will explore how Asana (the movement part of the practice), Pranayama (the study of the breath), and Meditation (the quieting of the mind) can do just that!
Lets start with the getting to the mat! I have often heard many Yoga teachers, and I use this phrase in my classes “The Yoga mat is a micro cosm of life or a mirror of your life”. What do you think that means? I think by asking a few questions about what we put our attention on and how we are engaging in our Yoga Asana class we can examine how to improve our practice as well as connect to the movement and ourselves on a deeper level, on and off of our mat. We can do this with the goal of bringing a more present less distracted version of ourselves out into the world.
Think about the following:
When you are practicing in class where is your mind? Are you really able to leave your laundry list of “to do’s” out of the classroom? Do you spend time concerning your self with the person in the front row who seems to be the perfect Yogi? What is the quality of your movement like?
Vinyasa Yoga a very popular variation of Hatha Yoga practiced today demands we flow from one posture to the next, but HOW are you making those transitions? Are you moving from one asana (posture) to the next with the goal of “hitting the mark”?
To really examine the quality of our attention and movement, we need to slow our typically athletic practices down a bit. If you have a more advanced practice take yourself back to a beginners class.
As you slow down your practice perhaps you can focus on one new thing to put your attention on throughout the class. One example the connection of the hands to your mat, or what are my feet like in this posture? Spend time solely focusing on how you make your transitions from one posture to the next. Examine the quality of your stillness once you find your posture.
Enlisting strategies such as these to deepen your awareness on your Yoga Mat will help you to have more balanced and authentic strength in your body, and maybe a more authentic grounded presence in the world.