Challenge Yourself – Mindful Yoga
Are you ready to challenge yourself? Here, I give you some effective mindfulness based practices that you can start doing already today! All you need is an open mind and you’re good to go.
This week I challenge you to try out mindful yoga. If you have practiced yoga before, this one might be an easy challenge for you. But what is great in it, is that you don’t need to have any prior experience from yoga or any other sports either. This is for everyone. Let’s start!
What is mindful yoga?
Before going into how to start practicing mindful yoga, I will first let you know what it is and why it is worth trying out, especially if you are already into mindfulness. To put it simple, practicing yoga mindfully means that you combine mindfulness and yoga. It is not a regular yoga practice where you might have a specific goal or style you practice. In mindful yoga – as in mindfulness in general – you let go of any goals for the practice itself. The purpose is to move mindfully, targeting your full awareness into your breath and body sensations during the movement.
In mindful yoga, there is no right or wrong in terms of how many movements or with what intensity you should practice it. It is all about finding your own way and listening your body’s signals and recognizing its limits. Even though your body is moving and you might want to challenge yourself, the purpose is not to set any goals for your performance, that you would set for example in another sport.
Why practicing it?
What are the main reasons you should start mindful yoga? First, it is good to understand that mindfulness is much more than only sitting still in awareness. Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, there are no limits! Also one good reason to add mindful yoga as a part of your practices is to simply have some change from the body scan exercise or sitting practices. It can also provide help for those who find it difficult to stay still for longer meditation moments; adding the yoga movements into mindfulness can be your thing, so why not try it out!
How to do it?
Now let’s move to the action! Even though you would have prior experience from yoga, I suggest to start from the very basics. Start from lying on your back in a yoga mat and take a few breaths. Bring your attention into your breath for few minutes and prepare for the movements. Once you start with the movements, let your breath breathe at its own pace, do not force it or try to change it in any way.
As said, there is no goal when practicing mindful yoga. Despite I list some possible movements from which you can start with, I underline that you don’t need to do all of them. In case some movement does not feel like you want to do it, you can skip it or modify it as you like. Learn to listen your body sensations and do what it guides you to do. It cannot go wrong. Also, instead of physically moving your body parts, you can try out some of the movements with visualization; visualize the movement in your mind instead of doing it. How does it feel like?
Once you do this yoga, do it on your own pace, but remember not to rush. I suggest you to take some breaths and mini breaks during the movements – between the steps described below. You will learn where to take those breaks, and in which moments it feels natural. If there is one thing to remember in mindful yoga, it is that there is no goal to achieve anything or to rush anywhere. Stay in the moment and bring your awareness towards your body sensations once it moves. If and when your mind wonders somewhere else, gently bring it back to the present moment, to the movement.
Below you can find some movements with which I suggest you to start. As said, do this with your own terms and let your body guide you along the way.
Missed the previous challenge? Go check it out here.
x Mari Susanna