When we think of mindfulness, many of us may think of sitting cross-legged on the floor, eyes closed, channeling utter peace and quiet. This may sound serene, and for many people impossible, but the truth is that mindfulness is a practice that can be incorporated into any part of the day, even on the move. Whether you’re washing the dishes or walking the dog, each moment provides an opportunity to really engage with what’s happening right now. By paying attention to your breathing, to what you’re doing, and how you feel, you can keep your mind from wandering off, and ultimately transform any activity into a mindful one. Yoga is the same way.
You can find mindfulness within your yoga practice, whether you like a gentle flow or sweaty cardio, with these 5 easy tips:
1. Focus on the Present Moment.
It’s not always easy, but through yoga breathing, poses, and relaxation exercises, we have the ability to shift our focus from the external to the internal, from what happened before we arrived on the mat or where we need to be next, to what is happening in our mental, emotional, physical body in the present moment. Hone in on your breath, and how your body feels as you move through each pose, and you’ll be less inclined to be caught up in your to-do list.
2. Practice Non-Judgement.
Yoga gives us the beautiful opportunity to simply observe how we are feeling in present moment mentally, emotionally, and physically, without being judgmental or negative. Yoga isn’t a contest, and when you show up on the mat ready to just be with your body, no matter how you feel or look moment-to-moment, you can begin to let go of insecurities and embrace your inner strength.
3. Let it Go.
Even when we are trying to be nonjudgmental, there may be moments during yoga when expectations and criticism creep in. These are the amazing learning moments where we get to practice letting go. Yoga teaches us to focus on what is, not what we want things to be, and sometimes that means letting go of any disappointment so you can appreciate the here and now.
Yoga gives us the opportunity to nurture ourselves so we can nurture others. By taking the time to practice yoga, we build self-awareness. This deeper connection with ourselves ultimately helps us to connect more authentically to our community, whether its our kids, our friends, our partners, our coworkers, or even a stranger on the street. Yoga helps us to forge more meaningful connections even when after we hop off the mat.
5. Find Your Peace.
Our bodies and minds are connected. When you take the time for the physical practice of yoga, you’ll have the ability to be more flexible both physically and mentally. In other words, yoga helps us to ride out the storm, so you’ll be better able to experience mental calmness, composure, and an evenness of temper, especially in the face of adversity or conflict.