Mindful Movements: Yoga

Yoga is a wonderful opportunity for us to connect our body and mind. The mindful movement and breathing in yoga allows us the space to nurture ourselves. Even very simple movements, in tandem with mindful breathing, release stress, invite tranquility and strengthen our core being.

Photo by Federico Stevanin from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For many people I know, yoga class is the one time in their day when mindfulness comes easily and their attention is focused solely on the betterment of body and mind.

There are many different types of yoga that appeal to a variety of goals:

  • Vinyasa and Ashtanga focus on the flow of movement.
  • Kundalini focuses on breath, meditation and the flow of energy.
  • Iyengar yoga focuses on alignment. 
  • Yoga is a wonderful place for healing and many studios have classes that cater specifically to people with injuries.
  • For more information about different forms of yoga and a directory of yoga studios across the U.S. visit Yoga Centers and Instructors of America

This is a very general overview. All teachers and studios have different styles, strengths and preferences. The right fit of instructor and environment will make all the difference.

I was recently invited to speak at the Yoga East  studio. In this space I felt instantly calmed and welcome. I shared with the audience the teachings of the Four Nutriments  and the Four Foundations of Mindfulness, which are the key to transforming all our unhealthy habits.  I discussed how mindfulness can be infused into our everyday living through the practice of mindful eating, mindful moving and mindful living.  In the question and answer period, I received only one question asking me what I ate for breakfast.  Later on, the audience told me why they did not ask many questions. They were immersed in the moment of being. They were not using their brains to think.  They were simply enjoying and practicing deep listening!

A simple yoga pose that you can practice at work, at home or in line at the grocery store.

Stand grounded with your feet hip width distance apart and notice the contact your feet have with the earth. Spread your toes wide and commit them to the earth, along with the pads of your heels. (If you have your shoes on feel the interaction between your feet and the bottom of your shoes, commit both to union with the ground.) Feel what it’s like to connect with the earth in this solid stance.

Now rock from your heels to your toes, slowly and gently. Notice the sensations as you move to connect different parts of your feet to the floor.

What are your favorite yoga poses and studios?

If you have not experienced yoga before, I encourage you to consider what yoga could offer you. Sometimes it helps to leave our home or work and enter in to a space specifically devoted to mindfulness, in order to focus on our needs.

If Yoga doesn’t speak to you, look to our guide of screen time alternatives for other activities that you can engage in mindfully.