Is it a match? I love essential oils, but wasn’t sure how to incorporate them into my practice. Or if it makes any sense at all. Or if I even like it. I try to keep my practice pure. Just me and my mat, that’s it. Plain-vanilla. My ujjayi breath is strong and I couldn’t imagine any disruption, even not through a good smell, gently diffusing in the air.
A bit of experimenting and I have to admit, it works really well. Yoga and essential oils. It’s all about balance. Accepting that every day is different, every day the body and the mind are in a slightly different mood and need different support. One day I diffuse essential oils, so they transform the room into another world and speak to all my senses. Some days I need stillness, In my ears and my nose. Other days I love to add some oils to my neck and soles of my feet right before shavasana for a perfect relaxation.
There’s no one fits all, play with them! Surprisingly it’s not always the favorite smell that works with the practice. Each oil has it’s effect and magic on both, body and mind. No matter if you initially like it or not. It’s no perfume. But it can be too 🙂
Let the magic work!
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!
“If you can breathe, you can do yoga.”
Through yoga I learned proper breathing. I learned to breathe deep into my belly. I learned that my breath is my friend and even more, we can play. Lengthen the inhales and exhales, also pause, so called breath retention. I learned that breathing is much more than an automated process to survive.
Working with our breath in yoga is called pranayama. Built from the terms prana, which means life energy and ayama, control or extend. Through pranayama and the different breathing techniques, we control our life energy or even extend the life force.
In the Ashtanga tradition, we use Ujjayi breath during practice. We breathe through our nostrils, and when exhaling, we constrict the back of our throat, generating a sound, that reminds us on the sound of the ocean. Ujjayi breath creates the rhythm of our practice, while building and keeping the body heat inside. There are a lot of benefits, such as regulating blood pressure, increasing the amount of oxygen in the blood and many more.
I found Ujjayi breath very helpful to keep my focus. It’s my music when practicing. My rhythm. Deepening my asanas.
Bring your awareness to your breath and just observe. Start a good relationship with your breath, become friends. And eventually, extend your life force!