Master Mindfulness Through Yoga
There are many tools we can use to conquer the challenges of everyday life. Mindfulness is a very popular strategy that encourages us to acknowledge our thoughts and feelings without judgement — far easier said than done!
Specific meditative exercises exist that are designed to improve your ability to live mindfully. However, if you’d prefer to incorporate physical activity at the same time, yoga on the Mornington Peninsula could be just what you’re looking for. Mindfulness, through controlled breathing, has always been a cornerstone of this ancient form of exercise and is one of the greatest benefits of regular practice.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness refers to the ability to maintain awareness of our current thoughts, feelings, and surrounding environment without making any judgements. To be mindful is to be completely in the moment — not thinking about tomorrow’s work presentation or an argument you recently had with a friend.
This might sound simple enough, but the moment you try to clear your head of all thoughts for more than a few seconds, you’ll quickly find those thoughts racing to find their way back in. Given the fast-paced nature of the modern world, mindfulness is not a natural state. Rather, it is one that takes considerable and consistent practice to achieve.
However, the benefits of this practice are well worth the time and effort you put in. Many studies have shown that regular engagement with mindful techniques brings about both physical and mental benefits that can help us take on the challenges of daily life.
- Improved emotional regulation: Life can be challenging and we’ve all encountered situations before where we don’t quite know how to respond. Emotional regulation refers to the ability to exert control over your own emotional state, resisting the urge to give in to anger, stress, or frustration. These skills are very important and can help you make informed decisions that are in your best long-term interests, regardless of what might be going on around you.
- Improved focus: The fast-paced nature of modern life means that many of us struggle to retain focus for more than a few minutes at a time. Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment, giving your current task complete time and attention. These skills can be applied to everything from work to social encounters.
- Reduced rumination: Rumination is a common symptom of anxiety, where an individual constantly dwells on the same (negative) thoughts. This can have significant consequences on mental and physical health. Mindfulness aims to remove you from the cycle of rumination by encouraging you to remain in the present and refrain from considering worst case scenarios.
- Improved quality of sleep: Mindfulness is a specific form of meditation and regular meditation has long been associated with improved quality of sleep. We all know how important sleep is — it boosts your immune system, lowers your risk of serious health conditions, and improves important cognitive functions.
How yoga facilitates mindfulness
Few types of exercise place a greater focus on the connection between mind and body as yoga. While yoga is certainly about improving flexibility, strength, and balance, all movements are centred around the breath, meaning the practice develops your concentration and mental strength, too.
In a yoga class, your instructor will ask that you think consciously about your breath. This can take some getting used to, given the fact that breathing is largely an automatic process. Bringing attention to the breath provides a focal point on which to centre yourself and your thoughts. If your mind wanders — which is practically guaranteed to happen — you’ll be told to bring it back to the process of breathing in and breathing out.
At first this may seem difficult, but with regular practice, you’ll soon find that concentrating in this mindful manner becomes second nature. Your new found meditative mindset can then be applied to other areas of your life to improve your mood and reduce the effects of stress and anxiety.
Mount Martha Yoga
If taking control of your mental health is one of your goals for 2022, why not try yoga on the Mornington Peninsula? Emily from Mount Martha Yoga offers both private and semi-private lessons for individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Her experience as both a teacher and practitioner of yoga has led her to develop an excellent understanding of the holistic benefits of yoga, including how it can be used to improve mindfulness.
Emily’s studio is located in the beautiful foothills of Mount Martha, providing a safe and welcoming environment for everyone from absolute beginners to experienced yogis. If you’re in the Mornington Peninsula region and are searching for yoga classes near me, contact Mount Martha Yoga today.