Updated: Oct 22, 2019
I was thinking back to a class during my yoga teacher training, it was a light bulb moment. Breath how you want to feel. BREATH HOW YOU WANT TO FEEL.
Almost everyone has been anxious about something at some point, think back to when you were a child and upset. I work in kindergarten, and when a child is upset, crying and can't get their words out, causing their breath to become short and quick, I ask the child to place their hands on their belly. Breath down to their hands and fill up the belly with air. This supports the child in calming down by focusing on the breath.
It's the same for adults when upset or angry - take deep breaths and count to ten. Think about a time when you were already stressed out, something small happened and you snapped over the most insignificant detail, this is your fight or flight response. I realized that for a long time I wasn't breathing correctly, sometimes even holding my breath. I was living in fight or flight response. This led to digestive issues and crazy hormone imbalances. Yoga has taught me to let go of all of it, the anger, fear and individuals that no longer have the power to negatively effect me.
I don't think about the past or worry about what could happen in the future. I enjoy the here and now. To surrender is a very powerful standpoint. You can compulsively worry and live outside the present moment being trapped in your thoughts and feelings, making no impact to the outcome, or learn to accept and let go.
Mindfulness is not easy, it takes practice. I know from experience that this is easier said than done.
People often tell me that mindfulness is about clearing the mind.
They tried it, and couldn't clear the mind, feeling like they had failed and gave up. You cannot clear the mind, your mind does not want to be cleared, its not possible. Mindfulness is actually about noticing your thoughts and bringing yourself back to the present moment, over and over. In time it will get easier, the more you practice the easier it will become.
A great app called 1 Giant Mind really helped me to steady my thoughts and improve my meditation practice.
I always thought that in meditation you had to completely still mind. Yoga is a moving meditation linking the breath to movement, by giving the mind something to focus on, it is distracted just long enough to keep your thoughts from wondering and if they do while practicing yoga, simply bring your awareness back to your breath.
Your breath is one of your most powerful healing resources. Deep, slow and rhythmic whole body breathing can reduce anxiety, fear, pain and depression.
It can also activate your immune system, increase your ability to concentrate and release feel good hormones.
Deep breathing does this by activating your parasympathetic nervous system, ultimately helping you feel relaxed, in control and connected with yourself and the world.
Being with friends, sharing in a yoga practice together increases endorphins that make us feel good.
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