It is a basic human ability to be present. Even if we do not practice it, this is called ‘Mindfulness’. When we are not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what is going on around us, we are existing in the present.
Although this is a natural and intuitive state of being, when we practice mindfulness daily it will be more readily available to us.
Bringing awareness to what we directly experience via our senses, thought patterns, and emotional state is the key to being mindful. Several researches have shown that when we train our brains to be ‘mindful’ we are in essence overhauling the very physical framework of our brains.
The entire goal of mindfulness is to shake awake the deep inner workings of our entire emotional, mental, and physical experiences.
How can I practice mindfulness?
There are a lot of ways we can practice the very simplistic act of mindfulness. Some choose to use meditation and body scans, breath work, purposeful positive thinking, self-compassion pausing, connecting with nature, coloring, and my favorite, practicing yoga.
What is yoga?
The simple meaning of Yoga is ‘to add’. This means adding something new to yourself. Yoga is the science of body and sometimes inner purification. Yoga alone can quickly balance the muscular system, increase bone flexibility, promote stress reduction, increase blood circulation, detoxification and improve sleep. It’s even been proven that the practice of yoga prevents certain ailments and/or faster recovery.
Most but not all yoga combines properly positioned poses, focus on the breath, and a sense of self-awareness (mindfulness). All of this can be performed well within your personal comfort zone.
But isn’t yoga _____?
I’ve heard it all…all the misconceptions of what yoga “is”. Let me be clear, yoga is not a religion (or cult). It’s a conscious living practice, where one can subtly find a greater expansion of all systems within, for enhanced health, balance, healing, fortitude, and relaxation.
Yoga is about making life more comfortable by practicing being in the present moment with love and honor, even through the occasional physical discomfort.
How do I…yoga?
No experience is necessary! Just make the decision to do it and do it you will.
It can be as little as 10 minutes of practicing simple yoga postures, like ‘tree’, ‘warrior’, and ‘half moon’ pose or as in depth as ‘firefly’, ‘lotus’, or ‘peacock’ pose. Don’t be fooled by their friendly names. They can still really stretch your body (and mind) given proper practice.
Repeated practice of yoga has been known to empower all levels of practitioners.
There are so many different forms of yoga that it would be a disgrace to try and point you to just one. They are as individual as we are. Here’s a small list to get you started.
Are there any simple poses for a beginner?
This was tough for a yoga enthusiast and teacher like myself to narrow down but here are my favorite three for those just starting out.
Mountain Pose is a base for all standing poses. This gives you a sense of how to ground into your feet and feel the earth below you. Mountain pose may seem like “simply standing,” but there is a ton going on.
Downward Dog (a well known pose) is used in nearly all yoga practices and yoga classes. This pose stretches and strengthens the entire body. Some practitioners say, “a down dog a day keeps the doctor away.”
Warrior II is a good pose to start. It’s an external hip opener and opens up the inner thighs and groin. It’s a good starting point for many side postures including triangle, extended angle and half moon balance. All of which I’m sure you’re eager to learn!
Want to learn some more? Just Google ‘Yoga for beginners’ and see where your search carries you. There are many ideas on what is ‘basic’ and what isn’t but that will be up for you to decide what’s right for you.
Will yoga hurt? I’m not flexible!
It’s not easy to narrow everything down since there are over 300 positions in the physical yoga practice, but these poses can start you off on the right path. Try doing each one of these for 5-10 breaths.
Remember: You don’t have to be able to do all these poses exactly as you see them — always go within and truly listen to your body and modify and and all if needed.
Practice the postures with a video and play it while you practice alongside it. Personally, I always love to end my yoga classes with a simple and relaxing pose of laying on our backs. It’s a great way to incorporate meditation, too!
Be the energy you want to attract and good luck stretching your inner and outer self.