Being able to maintain a positive and relaxed mindset is a practical skill that can be of benefit in many areas of your life. It isn't difficult to let your responsibilities pile up, and seem as though they are totally on top of you. This can be quite an exhausting state to continue living within.
One of the incredible benefits of regularly practicing yoga is that it helps to encourage balance in your life. It does this in many ways, not least of all by naturally guiding you to a calmer state of mind.
As you probably already know, when you are calmer, you are able to make difficult decisions with greater ease. This state of mind also allows you to navigate complicated situations with finer clarity.
From the Mat to the World
The lessons that you learn on the mat, such as patience and progress, will stay with you outside of your yoga practice. Once you begin to understand how you can push the boundaries of your capabilities through the physical act of yoga, you will also be able to have this realisation in other areas of your life.
As well as helping you to relax, yoga can help you to become more aware of your physical presence. As this progresses, you may notice a difference in the way that you hold yourself and how confident you feel moving through the world and interacting with others.
How Often Should I Yoga?
Even a brief 20 minute yoga session in the middle of your day can help to refresh your attitude, re-energise your body, and get you back in the mindset to give it your all for the rest of the day! You may also find that having this 20 minute burst at the beginning or the end of your day suits you better. On the other hand, you may have the time and the desire to practice for a longer period of time during your day.
Breathing: From Chaos to Calm
Much of the calming potential of yoga is credited to the breath-work that is engaged in during a session. Paying attention to the breath, and breathing in a deeply conscious manner, is an amazing way to listen to the rhythm of the body.
When you do this you encourage the flow of energy through your body to work for you, and you also activate your parasympathetic nervous system. As this system is activated, your breathing will naturally slow, your heart rate will drop, your blood pressure will lower, and you will begin to feel at ease.
Let's Mention Meditation
When you need to bring some peace and relaxation into your day, meditation can be a very effective tool in addition to yoga. With just a few short minutes of practice you can work towards restoring the natural balance of your body and promote a greater all-round sense of calm.
In the simple exercise that I am about to explain, we will focus on how important your breathing is to achieving an effective meditation practice.
It is absolutely normal for your mind to drift to other thoughts when you are meditating, and being able to re-focus yourself is very much dependant on your breathing. It is important not to give yourself a hard time when this happens and, instead, take another deep breath and concentrate on the flow of air coming in and out of your body.
So to get started with this exercise you will first need to be seated in a comfortable position. You can then set yourself a gentle alarm for any amount of time you choose as long as it is longer than a few minutes.
The next step is to close your eyes and just continue to breathe normally for a few moments. You should then try to feel your breathing in your belly and focus on this thought for three breaths, in and out. After these three breaths, move your breathing focus up into your chest and breathe this way for three breaths, in and out. Repeat this sequence of breathing first in your belly and then in your chest until your alarm goes off to end your meditation.
What is Meditation?
Meditation embodies a range of practices that all serve to encourage relaxation as well as the growth of patience, compassion, forgiveness and gratitude. At its core, meditation is a practice that provides rest to the mind and creates a distance from the stresses and worries of everyday life. It enables a different sense of consciousness to that which is usually experienced, and will promote an enhanced sense of calm well-being.