Whether you’re a yogi, you dabble now and again or you’ve never done a class in your life, you could be practising the principles of yoga in your everyday routine, without even knowing it…
“Yoga happens beyond the mat, anything you do with attention to how you feel is doing yoga.”Unknown
If you do practise yoga, do you ever consider the fact that you’re probably extending your practice into everyday life? If you don’t, there are definitely things you do that can be considered to be yoga! We’re not just talking about journaling and meditation – but they definitely count. Every time you take a moment, or move your body these are extensions of your practice.
As an example I took up art classes a few years ago and realised that even drawing still life was a yoga practice in itself. It felt like a journey, with obstacles and my own mental challenges. I noticed how I was acquisitively aware of shadow and light and how the movement of each stroke of pencil my breath would also flow in synchronicity. Much like my own yoga practice, I even noticed if I was unknowingly holding my breath in tension, from an obstacle in the drawing, how it made everything that I was doing so much more strained and tense. This is something I emphasise greatly in my Yoga classes and to my coaching clients. I want them to hear their own breath and not be resistant to holding it all in. I want them to explore their own capabilities in their breath and movements and awareness, so they can start digging deep into their own importance and values.
One of the basics of yoga and mental fitness is laser focused breathing. How many times a day do you pop the kettle on, go to the toilet or sit at your desk? These are perfect moments to take a minute and focus on mindful, focused breathing. By all means throw in a mountain or tree pose while making a cuppa, feel the sensations of your hands resting on your belly or gently rubbing both palms together – it’s all about making things work for you and how your daily routine!
Aren’t you just talking about mindfulness?
Partially yes, the ultimate goals of yoga are to still the mind, focus and attain samadhi (pure awareness). But that’s easier said than done sometimes, our minds are a busy place and often a vortex of worries and anxieties, constantly flitting from one thing to another. Work, life, children, the school run, shopping lists, friends. We have so much going on, which is often a stumbling block to just sitting and “being”. There is often the voice telling, What!! you don’t have time to pay attention to yourself or your breath Much like the exercise element of yoga, your mental fitness needs to be taken care of. Training our breathing to become deeper and fuller, training our brains to be aware of our saboteurs, our stumbling blocks and taking moments to really review what’s going on. The more you’re aware, the more you’re able to deal with mental blocks and build your resilience – much like injury prevention!
“The very heart of yoga practice is ‘abyhasa’ steady effort in the direction you want to go.”Sally Kempton
Our bodies are designed to move, and our brain is thankful for it! Even if it’s just stretching, mobilising or doing some silly wiggles. Maybe you love to run, walk the dog or dance. These are all endorphin boosting activities, our bodies are designed to move, Even if you haven’t moved in a while, or you’ve fallen off your yoga practice, it’s OK, Give yourself that mental break of not beating yourself down and make a plan of when would be the right time to start again.
I’ve just started rowing on the river. It is one of those activities where I push myself a little out of my comfort zone, much like choir practice, it takes all my senses, listening to my surroundings while using my body. It also takes me out of my day, time for myself, coupled with the rhythmic movement I am able to nourish my mental and physical fitness.
Could you use some help with building simple, sustainable change into your life, whether from yoga, mental fitness coaching or a combination of the two, get in touch to see how we can build your resilience and help you live a life free from overwhelm.