Yoga can be very meditative in practice and this is due to encouraging mindfulness. When you walk into yoga class, we want you to leave your stresses at the door. Downward dog is not the time to think “Goodness, I need a pedicure! When will I be able to fit one in? Well I’m taking the kids to soccer practice on Tuesday…perhaps Wednesday…” Our minds have a natural tendency to drift. But in yoga, we want your mind to remain in the present. This can prove to be meditative, calming and help you get the most out of your class.
Mindfulness is described as maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Practicing mindfulness in your yoga class can help you to properly use your class time as a small escape from your usual day-to-day stresses. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want a mini vacation?
How to practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is naturally available to us in every day living. At first, it is not easy, but with practice you can get the hang of it. The aim of mindfulness is not quieting the mind, or attempting to achieve a state of eternal calm. The goal is simple: we’re aiming to pay attention to the present moment, without judgment. The trick is to not be hard on yourself. Be kind to your wandering mind. If you notice your thoughts drifting, gently bring them back to the present moment. When practicing mindfulness: Notice your body: how does it feel at this current moment? Feel the sensation of your breath as it goes out and as it goes in. Take note of your surroundings. Take note of your current emotions, how are you feeling right now? Practising mindfulness is pretty simple and straightforward, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. With consistency, it will become a lot easier over time.