Mindful Practice

“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!

Relax babe

I bet you know this situation: the teacher shows something, it looks easy. You give it a try — impossible. The teacher breaks it down into single steps, explains the technique and it looks, guess what, super easy. You give it another try — impossible. I mean, this kind of never-in-this-life-possible. Everything in your body is asking ‚are you kidding me?‘ Alright, it’s not your body talking to you, but your ego. Telling you, ‚you’ll never be there’, ‚you’re not good/flexible/strong (choose your word) enough‘!

Your ego is quite intelligent, if this strategy is not working, there’s the opposite: ‚go for it, work hard, push yourself, don’t give up before you can do it‘!

Babe, that’s not better at all. Both is not doing anything good to you. Relax. Make it part of your practice to turn that ego talk off. You will immediately be open to feel, trust and be easy to yourself. It allows your body to try. Allows yourself to laugh when falling, to appreciate your practice as it is. It opens you to be grateful for each baby step.

Let me give you an example: jump throughs. These wonderful transitions between asanas. They look so natural. Have you ever tried to lift your feet in a forward fold, in Uttanasana? See. My ego told me, as long as I can’t do this, I won’t be able to jump through. And even more. My ego told me, I’ll never be a proper Ashtangi without being able to jump through. I didn’t stop working on it, but frankly, without much effort, my aim was rather making the transitions more fluent, than to jump.

One day I managed to send my ego back to sleep before practice. It was like a ‚click’ in my mind, all of a sudden I knew I had to position my hands slightly different and I walked through. Ohhhh! I know, that’s not jumping, but my hands stayed flat at the mat. This was showing my body the way. This was the moment I knew, I can do it. I can jump, no need to float before.

It works. In baby steps. Get your mind on track! Relax. Do your practice and let it happen when it’s time. Allow your ego to have a break. Allow your ego to stop texting all day long. Relax, babe.