Posted on April 05 2019
Mindfulness is a word we often hear in the yoga studio. But what does it really mean? Being mindful is the idea that the mind is fully concentrated on the current moment, what you’re doing at that moment, and the space you’re in at that time. Unfortunately, it’s something that’s easier said than done. We live busy lives, and it’s easy to find your mind wandering off during your yoga practice to an upcoming to-do list, emails, texts, work, kids, money, etc.
So, what can you do to help yourself stay mindful during your yoga practice? Here are 5 tips you can use to help you stay on track:
1. Remove all Distractions from your Practice Area
It may be difficult, but don’t bring your cell phone into class unless you absolutely must! Cell phones and electronics are an easy way to get distracted during class. Even seeing a missed call could send your mind into a completely different headspace. Allow yourself the full time of the class to truly disconnect from the outside world. Anything outside of your practice will still be there when you get out.
2. Know that your Practice is not a Competition
Your yoga practice is just that – a practice. It is not a time to compete with your neighbor for who can lift their leg higher or balance longer. Often times we get so caught up in what shape we ‘should’ be making that we forget that yoga is all about how you feel. Try to focus on your own practice, and what makes you feel good in your body.
3. Spend Time in Savasana
Savasana is the meditation/resting period at the end of your practice. It may sound crazy, but this posture is often the most difficult for people to stay in. Once your body becomes still, it’s easy for your mind to start to wander. The end of class can also trigger your mind to start thinking about all the things that come next in your day. During savasana, allow your body to completely relax and absorb the benefits of your practice. If you find that your mind still wanders off, try focusing on your breath and counting to 5 with each inhale, and then again to 5 with each exhale.
4. Listen to Your Body
A huge part of practicing mindfulness is listening to your body. Rather than forcing your body into physical movements that don’t feel good, stay connected to your breath and notice when you need to take a break. Trying to get into postures that you are not ready for can be frustrating and lead your mind to start thinking negatively. If something hurts or is painful, you always have the option to modify or come to child’s pose and take a break.
5. Allow Yourself to Truly Enjoy the Practice -- Let Go of Negative Thoughts
Try to distance yourself from any specific goals from your practice (Example: losing weight, getting into a certain pose, being more flexible, etc.). While personal goals are great, it can also lead you to push yourself too hard or solely focus on that goal instead of feeling good in your own body. Allow yourself that time just to let go and be the best you can be. Everything else will fall into place.
Here are three yoga poses to aid in Mindfulness:
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Stephanie Morgan is a yoga instructor and fitness, fashion & lifestyle blogger from Chicago! Yoga has impacted her life in so many ways, and she loves having the opportunity to teach and share her practice with others. She hopes to encourage and inspire other people to follow their dreams and find new levels of possibility in their minds and bodies by bringing their practice off their mat and into their lives! You can find her blog at www.XoStephMorgan.com