The retreat this year was really special. The thing that made it so amazing was the people who came because they went all in and got involved in everything.
Every morning on the retreat we did half an hour meditation before class and I was pretty impressed that everybody turned up almost every day. It’s probably one of the hardest things for a human being to do, sitting in stillness and silence with ourselves, but has so many benefits for our physical, mental, and emotional bodies.
Meditation is an incredible tool to help slow down the mind and create greater self awareness.
The place to start is with the breath. The breath is a microcosm of your nervous system. The inhale energises the body and the exhale calms the body. The centres in your brain which control your thoughts and feelings are intrinsically tied to to how you breathe and are influenced by it. By bringing attention to how you breathe, you can control your state of mind.
“Mind is king of everything in our lives…. but the breath is king of the mind”
A very simple technique is to place greater emphasis on the exhale, rather than the inhale because this shifts the emphasis to the calming, parasympathetic (rest & digest) component of the breath cycle and creates clarity in the mind. This is also a tool you can use during class, particularly at those times when you are feeling really challenged.
If you bring attention to the pause after you inhale you will feel a wonderful spaciousness and then in the pause after you exhale you will notice a stillness.
You often hear teachers saying yoga is a moving meditation, creating self awareness by movement and bringing attention to the physical body and the breath.
To improve the quality and internalisation of your yoga practice, do at least one class a week of Yin Yoga. This yoga has changed everything I do in my practice and made it so much richer, more grounded and deeper.
Yin creates incredible self awareness. You have to become present because you spend time in every posture. And time is the magic ingredient in Yin. You can feel where a posture is coming from inside you. You become so much more connected to your breathing. You notice the thoughts in your mind. You can observe your attitude and the unconscious patterns that control you.
The purpose of any yoga is to create conscious presence on the mat to cultivate new habits and practises, to then take into your life. This makes real change to the quality of how you are living.
Self awareness gives you choice and choice is intensely powerful. By seeing another perspective new outcomes are created and your experience of life completely shifts and grows.
Get on that mat 😉