Why mindfulness AND yoga?


Why mindfulness AND yoga? Why not just pick one?

Well, the simple answer is, I don't want to :) And I believe they go beautifully hand in hand. Here's why:

I've been doing yoga for over 2 decades. As part of that practice, I've been on a bunch of retreats, including meditation. Although through yoga and meditation, I was able to become very 'present' while I was on my mat, the rest of my life was more than slightly chaotic :) I have a tendency to do everything at top speed, get overly stressed at details, be a bit hard on myself and experience anxiety about the smallest of things.

Then I did an MBSR and for the first time, I was able to have the presence of a physical yoga practice while doing anything and everything - suddenly everyday life activities such as eating, walking and listening became so much more vibrant. Like someone had switched the lights on my everyday life activities. That came with a huge amount of joy - try riding on the underground, being fully present to the movements of your body without laughing at how weird it is, or looking at the sky and not being amazed (yes, I look like a crazy person sometimes, but I'm OK with that).

So mindfulness supports my yoga practice and it also goes both ways. Connecting with the body is an amazing mindfulness activity. The body is always present. Yoga is one of those activities that allows us to (re)connect body, breath and mind and really tune in to our experiences.

And the simple fact is, we need to move our bodies somehow. For me, yoga provides everything we need - flexibility, balance, mobility, strength. And more than that, it allows people to feel confident in their bodies again in a way that other exercise oftentimes doesn't. Last week, I taught headstand to a group of young adults for the first time. How did they feel when they stood on their heads - completely amazing! They felt powerful and invincible, while all the time respecting the limits of what they can and cannot do and having a profound respect for their bodies - no matter it's shape, size or whatever traumas it has experienced. 

And it doesn't have to be a headstand or anything that's challenging or fancy. Simply the act of breathing and connecting breath to movements can have a profound impact on people's wellbeing. I'm so grateful I get to see it every day.

I work a lot with women on their journey to motherhood - sometimes it doesn't go to plan. And even when it does, our bodies often don't feel like our own. We might not like our bodies much, not trust them, feel our bodies have somehow failed us, or perhaps feel alien to us. Yoga brings us back to our bodies. We turn towards our bodies whatever its perceived imperfections are. Mindfulness hand in hand with yoga teaches us that whatever we might think or feel, there is always so much more right with us than wrong with us.

Jenny N. Wilde - Mindfulness & Yoga | © 2021
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