Inside Yoga 270 (3/6/2019)
Mindfulness is used so much in so many situations these days, with products everywhere claiming to be mindfulness “this or that”, there is a risk that mindfulness’s usefulness and importance is diluted and even missed.
Leaving aside those products which simply use mindfulness as a sales gimmick, mindfulness itself is a simple approach to everything, and this includes yoga.
Yoga might appear to be many things to many people, but its essence is simple, with the word yoga meaning union, it is describing a methodology which teaches us how we can establish a sense of connection – union – with not just ourselves but the world beyond us. And importantly, it shows us how to reconnect with this union, because we do get distracted … frequently.
Mindfulness is a way of staying aware of what is really happening for us. Being mindful is a way of watching, seeing what is happening and making the most appropriate response to establish once again union.
Take the practice of yoga asanas (exercises or postures) as an example of why mindfulness is yoga.
When practising a yoga posture we will notice how easily we become distracted by thoughts and sounds around us, or if we are honest with ourselves what often precedes this awareness of distraction is a lack of awareness as in that moment we are absorbed in our distracted thought or listening/watching whatever had distracted us. First, we need to notice our distracted state and acknowledge that it is not the time to be thinking about XYZ or staring out of the window! Second, we drop the distraction and refocus our attention on the yoga posture we are supposed to be practising and of course, remembering to take a deep breath.
We possibly spend most of the time returning to paying attention, but this is what the practice of mindfulness is all about, and also what yoga is about. We accept that we become distracted but we do not give up trying to concentrate on being mindful. With time, practice and patience we will improve our ability to remain mindful.
In this way, mindfulness is yoga, and yoga is mindfulness.
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