Well, I can’t give a clear yes or no, as I believe the most important thing is to listen to your body. It’s always crucial, but in that situation, mindfulness is mandatory. Never ever force anything only because your ego tells you to practice no matter what. Bullshit.
It’s that time of the year in this part of the world where we’re facing colds and flu and it hit me too last weekend. My body felt very weak, but same time shouting for some deep stretches. I listened and practiced gentle yin yoga. It felt good. Next day, no practice at all. My body was fighting and clearly needed nothing but proper rest. Today I’m feeling a bit better and asked my body what to do. I wasn’t sure. I went onto my mat, started a bit of warm up and stretching, followed by some sun salutations. I was surprised to have the energy and strength for it. However, there’s no point in overdoing! I continued listening to my body to figure out what it needs and how much. I ended up with yin again, so a bit of both and it felt perfect.
When practicing Ashtanga, it’s quite tough to decide for a different practice. Yogis out there, it’s important. Always listen to your body, not your ego. Only do what supports your health. Otherwise everything might even go worse. Another indication is your breath. If you can’t breathe properly, don’t practice anything that requires e.g. ujjayi breath. Better not practicing at all or gentle yin or just stretching, if that feels good. Maybe meditation is your choice of practice!
Are you using essential oils? They help me a lot, not only taking them internally to support fighting the cold, but also to breathe. I put two oils in my diffuser today while practicing: Air and Petitgrain. A great support for my breath! Text me if you want to know more about it.
Yogis, stay healthy and always decide and practice mindfully!
Many times meditation has been a topic I wrote about,
and in these times of intense stress, I won’t stop to point out how important
it is to slow down and be in stillness.
Our minds tend to be overloaded, and many of us experience
a constantly buzzing busy mind. Just ignoring this fact and allow the stress to
manifest can lead to health issues. Stress can take a serious toll on your body
on all levels, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. This makes it so
important to have breaks, clear the mind, calm down and be still. Your health
needs a relaxed and calm starting place to function optimally.
Here comes meditation into play, as this is a great
tool to calm down with effects on all levels. You don’t like it? Can’t do it? Give
it a different name. Get behind the idea. It’s crucial to quieten your mind and
be in stillness, no matter how you do it or how you call it. As an important
note, it’s not about just getting rid of your thoughts. Even if shushing your
many inner voices is the main goal, you should let them have their say, so you
can discover the all-encompassing stillness. Allow thoughts to pop up,
appreciate them and let them go. This is the whole exercise. Let’s repeat: it’s
all about accepting the thoughts as they come up, and then releasing them.
Sounds easy, but it only works if you stop judging
yourself when your mind starts to wander. Sitting in stillness isn’t
easy, so why don’t you start with this to help you stay focused and reel you
back in if your mind gets too busy:
- Focus on your breath: Bring your attention to your breath. Let it go into your belly, long, slow deep inhales and full exhales. Whenever your mind starts to wander, bring your attention back to your breath. Again and again and again. Just that.
- Guided meditation: Use a guided meditation to focus on the voice your hear and following that voice, so your thoughts don’t have much space. You can use an app for this or check my meditations on YouTube – I will record more for you and upload there. Go with the voice that makes you feel calm and settled, otherwise it won’t work well.
- Start easy: just some minutes will do the job when you start. Slowly you might want to increase the time, but be gentle and allow yourself to get used to it!
- Practice regularly: Make it a regular practice and go for the same time each day. This way it becomes a habit and you can stick to it. Start once a day, maybe right after getting up in the morning or before sleep in the evening. When feeling comfortable with it, you might want to increase the duration and/or ad another short slot during the day.
Learning how to quiet your mind and
have a regular practice can have a big impact on your life. And your
You might have read already about it, here on my site or somewhere else, however it’s such an important topic, that I will continue writing about it! Just some main values and ideas today on how to implement the mindfulness approach easily, no matter if into your yoga practice or your daily life as such.
A QUICK RECAP
Mindfulness is being in the present moment without judging; being fully aware of what we are thinking and doing, by keeping our focus on just that.
WHAT VALUE WOULD YOU PLACE ON…
- A shift from reacting to acting
- Reduced distractions
- Lowered blood pressure and heart rate
- Increased awareness
- Increased attention and focus
- Increased clarity in thinking and perception
- Lowered anxiety
- Experience of being calm and internally still
4 IDEAS TO INTEGRATE MINDFULNESS INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINES
- BE PROUD! Just repeat this phrase mentally again and again and again during the day, as often as possible. What will happen is a shift in your mindset – don’t think about what you are proud of, just be it, feel it! There’s always something to be proud of, don’t care about the details. Not just your mind but also your body will react on it: your posture will improve, your spine will lengthen, your chest lifts, your shoulders will slightly go down and back. You will radiate a positive and confident attitude. Wow!
- MOVE YOUR BODY! Of course you do that already when adding the mindfulness approach to your yoga practice. Think of it the rest of the day too! Many of us are sitting all day long, starring at a screen or any other devices. Sitting is said to be the new smoking – move as often as you can. Standing doesn’t do the work, your body needs movement. No need for a workout, just tiny little stretches work perfectly. Sitting or standing – do shoulder stretches, twists, side bends, balance, move the spine and many more. Easy little things that can be integrated without any effort.
- BREATHE! One of the most powerful tools with the purpose to either control our prana (life force, life energy) or to heal on a mental and/or physical level. We have loads of great techniques in yoga (so called pranayama) that we can use, however very basic techniques will already do the job, such as equal breathing (count your breath, inhale/exhale for 4) or lengthen your exhales (inhale for 4/exhale for 6) to squeeze your inner organs and get the toxins out. While we are used to breathe in a certain way during the yoga practice (e.g. Ujjayi breath), you can use the described techniques during the day and nobody will even recognize what you’re doing! It will immediately calm you down; do it in a train, car, plane, while waiting in a queue, during meetings, you name it.
- BE STILL! Meditation is a great tool to get ourselves into stillness, which is really needed in today’s stressful set up. Many of us struggle with meditation and I suggest to replace the term. Call it whatever works for you, it is just about going into stillness for a moment, you decide if 5 minutes, 30 or anything in-between. Bring your awareness internal, focus on your breath, allow any thoughts to pop up and pass by without giving them any further attention.
Go for it, it will change everything – to the better!
Let’s twist babes out there!
Gently move with your breath – lengthen with your inhale, twist with your exhale. Twists help to rejuvenate your spine by restoring your spine’s natural range of motion. They will cleanse your organs, and stimulate circulation. Not to mention the cleansing and refreshing effect on the torso organs and associated glands!
Get your blood flowing and boost your energy!
TUNEin:CALM – WORKSHOP 10th NOVEMBER
Join us if you are in Zürich! Saturday afternoon, time to take 2 hours just for yourself; to feel your body, to flow and stretch, to get quite and eventually immerse into your inner world when deeply connected to your breath. You are your own medicine, get access to it.
It’s time to get quiet. It’s time to listen and slow down, soften and look within instead of around. Let’s tune in. Let’s do it together:
- Flow – greet the sun – wake your body up softly: By synchronizing breath with movement, you will bring body and mind into alignment, getting into a flow, connecting sequences, calm and steady. You will gently wake your body up, saying hello to your muscles.
- Yin Yoga – unstick the fascia – release tension: You will then ease into a yin sequence, holding postures for some minutes to reach the connective tissues and the fascia. On the way you might face some tension and this will be the moment to let go and release.
- Breathwork – connect deeply – use your breath as your medicine: Finally, you are invited to a journey, using the power of your own breath, as a way of treating your body, mind, and spirit to its most rich and healing superfood. Music will support to find your rhythm while you allow yourself to just receive.
Are you in? Let me know and secure your spot here.
To bring: Comfy (yoga-) clothes, something to keep you warm during the breathing sequence, water
Energy exchange: CHF 40.-
10th November, 16:00 – 18:00, Stadtyoga, Zürich
“Remember, the main thing that shapes our body is how we feel, so don’t waste your sacred moments in senseless distraction.“ (Samadi, Bali)
When I start a class, I usually ask my students to allow themselves for the next 60/90 minutes to be present, in the room, on their mat, and most important with themselves. I ask them to practice mindful as a commitment to being here and now. I know this isn’t easy, particularly when practicing over lunch, when students arrive stressed and might have challenging stuff to do or lots of appointments in the afternoon. The more important it is to grant our monkey minds a break. The morning is past, nothing to do about it and the afternoon not yet there. Integrating the attention of presence in action, this is what it’s all about. Sounds simple, anyhow, not always easy to realize.
There are a couple of things that might help:
- Stop comparing yourself to others
- Direct your energy and your full attention to yourself
- Keep your focus on your breath (and simply bring it back each time you lost connection!)
- Be gentle with yourself
- Feel what you are doing
- Relax and enjoy the process
Next time when you hit the mat, give yourself permission for the time of your practice to just do that, nothing else, physically AND mentally. Any thoughts that pop up, let them come and let them pass, knowing they will get the required attention after your practice. I promise this will change your practice significantly!
Only when you can be extremely pliable and soft can you be extremely hard and strong. (Zen Proverb)
When practicing, find something more than just the physical challenge. Use the physical practice for controlling your mind, as the physical body is merely a vehicle. It’s not that important what you practice, but HOW you practice. It’s about deep listening, understanding your body and creating harmony. Notice when you are pushing and stop immediately. Let it go, connect with your breath, feel your body, then start again.
Getting soft in your practice isn’t a sign of weakness, but strength.
Yoga means union. Union of purusha (spirit, soul) and prakriti (surrounding, nature around us). Union of atman (true self) and brahman (absolute consciousness). Union of body and mind, the unity between the individual soul and the cosmic soul.
Bring your practice to the next level – get soft.