In this fast paced world we live in, we often find ourselves becoming overwhelmed with daily quarrels and vices. Now, of course these situations all come with the human experience, but they don’t have to consume you. It is all too easy to become a victim of harmful thoughts that do nothing but bring you down. It’s in our nature to desire to be in a state of peace and tranquility. However, oftentimes people have difficulty attaining such a train of thought. My goal with this article here is to help you get there.
You may be wondering: How can yoga get me in a state of mind that encourages serenity and self-acceptance? I mean, it’s just a bunch of funny poses and deep breathing, right? Wrong. Yoga can be thought of as meditation in motion. This type of meditation occurs when the mind and body are synchronized in a way that brings about harmonious results.
So, how does one get into such a relaxing state of mind that brings about not only immediate calming effects, but long term effects as well? The answer to this question is to exercise mindfulness techniques throughout your yoga experience. These crucial techniques will be described in greater detail below.
See, that’s why it’s is so appealing: Yoga’s benefits immensely supersede any disadvantages one can muster up (i.e., time restraints, energy, adherence levels, etc.). It’s not necessary to partake in an hour-long yoga session with dozens upon dozens of asanas to feel the instant effects that it has to offer. A simple ten-minute session on the yoga mat will do your body and mind a world of good.
Okay, you get it. Yoga is awesome and it can bring you a greater sense of peace of mind and calmness, but how? Let me explain…
Just to be clear, yoga itself only holds so much merit. If you aren’t being mindful nor exercising awareness of your body during your yoga postures, then you will probably not get much out of it. There is a very important mental aspect to yoga that should not be undermined by any means. It’s just as significant as any sequence could ever be.
So, how does one enter into a state of mind that allows for optimal yoga benefits? Well, there are several ways to go about doing this, but for starters I’ll discuss the importance of being aware of your senses (sight, hearing, touch, and smell). Bringing your attention to the senses during your yoga postures is an excellent way to enter into a state of calm. Let’s go over some examples so you can better exercise this concept.
Being aware of the tactile sensations you experience during your yoga asanas is a highly effective way to enter into the experience and to clear your mind of any unwanted thoughts or anxieties. To do this efficiently, you can bring your awareness to how the weight of your body feels and the pressure on the bottom of your feet on the floor. You can also become aware of where the pressure points are on your back or legs if you’re lying down. This awareness allows you to enter into the experience and will better help you to not dwell on thoughts that are not pertinent to the task at hand.
Besides being mindful of tactile sensations, you can bring your awareness to the way the air feels as you inhale and exhale. As you breathe in, vision and feel the air entering in your lungs. Be aware of the feeling of your chest expanding as well. As you breathe out, vision and feel the air leaving your lungs. Try to be mindful of how your body softens as you exhale. This simple type of awareness is the cornerstone to any successful meditation session.
Your sense of smell can also be another technique that you can use. Whether you have some incense burning or a candle nearby, you can bring your awareness away from any stressful thoughts that may have subconsciously crept up on you and you can focus in on the different smells around you. You of course can then bring your attention to your breathing like I previously mentioned.
One of the most important things to keep in mind however is to withhold a nonjudgmental stance throughout your mindful yoga experience. Judging things usually leads one to conclude that things are either bad or good. This can lead to irrational bias’s and don’t help you toward your greater goal of attaining peace and tranquility. When you observe the way a specific posture feels or when you describe the way an incense smells for example, you should do so by merely being objective about your experiences. Judgments will only hinder your progress.
As previously mentioned, entering into the experience of the task at hand is another vital component to getting the most out of your yoga sequences. Thoughts will come and go. This is natural and is expected to happen. The goal with being mindful during yoga is not to stop thoughts from entering into your mind, but rather to make peace with them and to not let them consume you. Yoga is a beautiful experience and it would be pretty difficult to truly enjoy if your mind was clouded with tons of anxieties and expectations, wouldn’t it? That’s why these skills are put into place, to help you get the most out of your experience.
Yoga, like most other types of exercise is highly beneficial to your body and your mind. Utilizing these mindfulness techniques laid out herein will greatly help you to get the most out of your yoga experience. In doing so you can expect to reap a glorious harvest of serenity, self-acceptance, and peace of mind.
I’m an ACE certified personal trainer, former competitive natural bodybuilder, student, blogger, and the founder of FitnessInterest.com. In my amateur bodybuilding career I placed 4th in the middleweight class of the 2012 SNBF Atlanta Championships in Georgia and 2nd in the collegiate division of the NANBF Natural Southern States Classic in Missouri. In the present day, I’m currently studying to be an Occupational Therapist. Along with exercise and research, I also greatly enjoy blogging about various fitness topics and helping others to achieve success in their own lives and individual endeavors.