In our ever-so-busy lives, 'multitasking' has become the new norm. While driving to work, we are taking various professional calls, planning our meetings, and chalking out our plans for the rest of the day. Once back home, we eat dinner, supervise our children while watching our favorite TV show.
We are so busy trying to get our tasks done that we forget to live in the present, or in other words, we stop being ‘mindful’. In this article, we will discuss how mindfulness and yoga are interconnected and how they benefit our emotional, physical, and mental health.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a very simple word that refers to the mind being fully aware of what you are doing, what is happening, and your surrounding environment. It may seem trivial; however, the truth is that our mind keeps drifting from the issue at hand. We lose the connection with our body and start fretting over different things that kick off our anxiety.
This is where being mindful comes in; no matter how far your mind drifts off, mindfulness will help you snap back to what you were doing. In simpler terms, it allows you to be mentally present while being aware of your whereabouts and activities and not getting overwhelmed by anything happening around you.
What Is Yoga?
Everyone is well acquainted with the term ‘yoga’ and is aware of several yoga health benefits. For those who are oblivious to the term, yoga is a practice of breath control, physical exercise, a positive mindset, and meditation aimed at achieving harmony among the mind, body, and the surrounding environment.
The age-old practice (dates back to 2700 B.C) involves specific postures, physical activity, meditation poses, and breathing techniques. Owing to the incredible benefits that it offers, yoga has earned its fair share of loyal followers worldwide.
The Connection Between Mindfulness and Yoga:
You might be surprised to know that mindfulness has been an important element of yoga’s physical practice. The main difference between other types of yoga and mindful yoga is that your entire focus is directed towards the awareness between your mind and body. The goal is to create ‘mindfulness’ while using asana as the driving force.
By introducing mindful awareness in any type of physical activity, you alert your mind and body to focus all your attention on the task at hand. This is why mindfulness yoga is thought to be a type of mediation mostly practiced at the beginning of a formal mediation session.
Mindful Yoga Has The Following Key Characteristics:
The main focus of this type of yoga is to divert all your attention to the connection between the mind and body.
The importance is given to observing instead of reacting. Even though this is a rule to follow in all yoga types, mindful yoga lays a huge emphasis on observing your feelings and thoughts while doing your yoga pose.
Mindful yoga makes use of the traditional Buddhist teachings of mindfulness in physical yoga to make your presence and awareness stronger whether you are off or on the yoga mat.
This form of yoga incorporates Budhha’s four foundations of mindfulness, which helps in creating compassion and self-awareness.
The Top Benefits Of Mindfulness And Yoga
It comes as no surprise that yoga and mindfulness have several lasting benefits for an individual’s physical, mental and emotional health. Moreover, scientists are now starting to take more interest in documenting the many advantages that mindfulness and yoga have when coupled together.
Let's take a look at them in detail:
They give your overall health a much-needed boost. By practicing mindfulness, you can help to get rid of several physical ailments in your body. By continually practicing yoga and mindfulness, you can keep your blood pressure in check, reduce stress and improve your overall quality of sleep.
How can we forget about the positive health benefits of practicing yoga and mindfulness? They allow you to keep negative emotions like stress, anxiety, and depression at bay while giving your mental health a much-needed boost.
It helps to have a stronger connection between your body and mind. You gain a deep insight into your deepest thoughts and emotions. In simple words, it improves the quality of life.
The combined practice gives you a stronger clarity in making decisions and also increases your creativity.
Four Poses for Mindful Yoga
Mindful yoga is practiced before starting any formal session of meditation. Just like there are specific poses that give you energy and strengthen the body, certain poses make your body ready for meditation. There are four poses that you can choose from for practicing mindful yoga all by yourself.
The tree pose or Vrikshasana
This is a classic balancing posture that makes your mind focus on striking the perfect balance while standing on one leg. It is a very simple pose that keeps your mind from wandering off.
Mountain pose or Tadasana
The mountain pose is the foundation for every standing posture. Since this pose is so simple, many may forget to practice it while not being mindful. This excellent posture helps bring awareness to every part of your mind and body while ensuring you maintain your focus.
Low lunge or Anjaneyasana
This is a stretching pose that helps to improve concentration, balance, and core strength. This yoga pose challenges your physical strength and may tempt you to lose focus or give up, making it an excellent mindfulness activity.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose or Supta Baddha Konasana
This restorative yoga posture is excellent for practicing mindful yoga as it creates awareness in your internal body. It challenges your mind to wander as the pose is physically challenging for your legs.
Conclusion On Mindfulness And Yoga
Did you know that the positive health benefits of mindfulness and yoga are more far-reaching than you can ever imagine?
Other than improving your strength and flexibility, they also positively impact your emotional, physical, and mental health. So what are you waiting for? Take out your yoga mat and reap the several benefits that this age-old practice has to offer.