“Mindfulness” seems to be a buzz word at the moment. It is supposed to be good for us to be more mindful. It is supposed to help with the stresses of day to day life. We are all supposed to be more mindful. But how can we do it?
In some ways we are being mindful when we listen intently to music – hearing each note- and we can feel the effect it has on our emotions.
We can walk and notice how the ground feels under our feet. To begin with, after 20 steps your mind may wander off as you notice something else. Eventually, with practice, you’ll be able to focus the mind for 200 steps, then 2000 steps.
Yoga practice takes this one step further- to a more intense level.
It is really helpful to use the human body- to isolate individual movements, to observe them and to modify them.
So we may place our hand for dog pose, we look at how the palm spreads, then we decide to improve the action. I believe this is mindfulness in motion.
In this way, our mind is fully preoccupied with what we are doing. If we start to look at our neighbour, look out of the window, we are not being mindful. This explains the direct mind-body connection that we experience in the practice of yoga asanas.
So yes, the correct practice needs to be intense in some ways to be mindful. If your mind wanders off you need to bring it back to what you are doing- again and again. As a teacher, I feel it is part of my job to keep bringing my students back to what they are doing- encouraging mindfulness. This intensity of practice is needed to improve mindfulness.
To find out about my classes in Worthing and Horsham please look at www.annamacedoyoga/yoga-classes