Did you know that yoga is actually a practice designed to quiet the body from aches and pains so the mind can find stillness in meditation? The ancient yogis wouldn’t even do yoga as it’s thought of today with the physical asanas (postures). They would just sit and meditate. I suppose with the invention of chairs, asanas were inevitable.
I shared a lovely quote during savasana (final relaxation) for my Monday night vinyasa flow class that I teach. It really sums up what I’ve been pondering lately and even made one of my mama practitioners tear up. (I love yoga tears, btw.)
“Mindfulness meditation opens our wisdom eyes to see that gain and loss, pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, birth and death, are all the dance of life itself. It teaches us to be unafraid of these changes and cycles, and to trust the capacity to rest in awareness itself, rather than in the changing experiences. When we trust awareness, when we rest in the one who knows, we come to the place of well-being that is beyond the changing circumstances of the world. And it is this that makes the heart happy and free.” - Jack Kornfield
Sneak a Couple Mindful Breaths into Your Life
Mindfulness meditation practice is just that, a practice. It’s not something you can just do and be perfect at in the beginning or even every time. In reality, you’re going to have thoughts— a lot of them— and that’s ok, that’s what the mind is meant to do. The trick is to not let that thought take you for a ride that leads to another thought, and another— and before you know it— you’re thinking about the hideous corduroy pants you used to wear in high school, and not meditating. So when you notice a thought running away with your attention, be diligent in your focus and simply bring your attention back to the moment. The breath is always a nice place to start to embody the moment.
I encourage you to really feel your breath go into your nostrils, fill up your chest and belly and then gently release. Something profound happens when you are so deeply rooted in your body at that moment. For many of my practitioners—including myself— yoga is one of the only times we don’t have two-year-old spider monkey kiddos climbing all over us. This is me time. I’m doing something that feels good in my body and slows the constant thinking that the mind is so good at. It’s filling our cup with the infinite unconditional love and wisdom that we come from. These precious moments we savor with gratitude for our body, mind, spirit and the wonderful community we’ve co-created.
Start with taking three mindful breaths, right now. (Go ahead, I'll wait.)
Start small and be consistent. You’ll soon feel the benefits of slowing down and being mindful. For me, things just connect better. I walk through the day with ease, grace, and appreciation. Don’t get me wrong, I still have some curveballs thrown at my head but when I have a consistent mindfulness practice, I know how to dodge that ball or hit it out of the park. Like Jack said: “we come to the place of well-being that is beyond the changing circumstances of the world."