Tag Archives: Begining yoga

Mindfulness for Greater Benefits within Yoga Postures

Mindfulness is a secret ingredient to achieving greater health benefits within yoga and other healing modalities.

To an experienced practitioner we understand that the yoga postures, even with their specific names, are only guides along a certain path. A yoga pose is not a finished product. The benefits are revealed during the process. The only thing we seek to obtain is to be 100% present within our body as we move through the yoga postures, opening, strengthening, lengthening, healing, restructuring. Learning to be present to how our body transforms, this is Mindfulness.  In any posture, there is always something more that can be transitioned through. Each and every yoga posture holds benefits that exceed our expectations.

yoga alignment and proper movement

What it is we are actually doing in “yoga.” What are the yoga postures all about?

yoga is great for skiers!

Think of yoga asanas, or postures, as a ski hill. We all go down the same hill. Some take the bunny slope and others take the steeper trails. The hill is the same.  This is why you see photos of people in Standing Bow Pulling Pose, some with their back stiff and straight and foot  barely over their hip and others with their back nicely curved and leg way up over their head. It’s the same pose just different levels, same beauty. The beauty is that both can have the same amount or lack of mindfulness.

beginners finding the beauty of yoga posturesAdvanced flexibility in yoga postures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The benefits are the same no matter what level one practices at.

Every advanced posture starts with a basic move. Think of it like the ski hill,  learning to stand on your skis is the first step to conquering the hill. Standing on two feet without falling over must be mastered  before we practice standing on one leg. We think of it as mindfulness creating clarity for where we are in our endeavors.

Standing pose can be of great benefit in yoga

Yoga teachers won’t expect you to reach completion, but rather be conscious/ mindful of your movements. This is why all levels of practice benefit the same. Mindfulness keeps us in check.

Hatha Yoga.

In every yoga posture there are two forces at work, hence the meaning of Ha-tha, sun and moon. There is strength and  flexibility, the agonist and antagonist muscle reactions. One muscle contracts while another, or others in a muscle group, relax. Therefore each pose contains two reactive forces.

agonist antagonist muscle in yoga

Within the yoga poses is also the compression or tourniquet effect. Internal organs muscles and tissue are compressed and squeezed in many yoga postures. The idea is like squeezing and flushing as if ringing out a dirty towel. The compression forces fluid out, and on the release, allows fresh blood to come through. I’ve found these compression aspects to be of very high value in my practice.

low back pain releiver

No matter how in-depth or uncomfortable a yoga posture is, they all become the same when you approach them carefully with mindfulness. So think of mindfulness in yoga postures like  driving your car at night around a blind corner.  Going too fast can lead to collision with an unforeseen obstacle. Therefore the approach to each pose should be done with mindfulness.

Douglas King inspirational yoga teacher

The proverbial man in meditation IS the clear depiction of yoga.

One pointed focus is what becomes meditation.  It’s Inner focus and attention in the moment which provides insights leading to transformation.

I’ve taught beginners who are masters at mindfulness. I’ve also witnessed advanced practitioners become frustrated in their practice from expectation. This becomes our challenge. The path of mindfulness is like a blending of two worlds, of doing and not doing.

Any gymnast or dancer can do “poses” easy. Don’t let people with advanced body movements influence you. It is the process of the pose that defines your level of yoga understanding.

It takes practice….lots of it. By the way, that’s why we call it a yoga “practice.” Keep it up.

For a more in-depth look at this process, please attend one of my new ONLINE YOGA CLASSES  beginning in April! For my first students there will be a significant discount for joining.

Aloha

What is Mindfulness and Meditation?

Today, more than ever before, people are seeking methods to feel stable, balanced and aware of where we are going.

Meditation is the answer and mindfulness leads the way. Mindfulness and meditation go hand in hand. Mindfulness can be used as a type of meditation for everything we do throughout our day. Meditation therefore, builds strong mindfulness muscles.

Meditation is an ancient intelligence by which one can find that sense of peace and balance within. It is a method whereby one can feel the sense of completeness. In that sense of completeness comes a feeling of bliss and comfort. Meditation comes as a big challenge for many people. Sitting still, without thought, might seem like a simple thing to do, but when one is faced with silence, the mind with its prolonged state of thinking – days, weeks, years of thinking – wants to continue. The momentum can be so great that not thinking becomes nearly impossible, even painful.

Meditation is an exercise.

It is a method that needs constant practice to develop. It’s similar to learning a language, one  lesson will not make thee wise.  We say fifteen minutes twice a day is a common time span to begin training in meditation. There are many methods for learning meditation, but the paradox is that thinking about how to meditate defeats the purpose.

Mindfulness is a part of meditation, but more so, it is a process by which one can transition into the deeper aspects of meditation by becoming more focused in the moment. Mindfulness brings you into a state of intelligence because mindfulness is whereby the mind is full of only the current physical undertaking. Think of it like drinking a glass of lemonade. The experience will be of drinking lemonade. If you were to add cranberry juice, oatmeal, beer and french fries, it would become so convoluted that the focus becomes thwarted. There is confusion. This is how many people run their minds on a day to day basis. The body may be on a task, but the mind is elsewhere. This is the most applicative understanding of what mindfulness is.

Mindfulness is knowing “what is” in this moment.

This is not to be confused with how we create ourselves through vision. We say circumstances don’t matter, but rather the state of mind matters. The mind creates the matter. One can be frustrated about a circumstance with all kinds of fruitless or impractical thoughts, or instead, find joyful feelings that will guide to more joyful experiences regardless of the current circumstance.

This does not conflict with mindfulness. Mindfulness is knowing what you are doing – be it making a cup of coffee, sitting in the park, or sitting in jail.  Mindfulness brings a sense of commitment to the moment.  Know what you are doing, or about to do, and participating with full intent. It does not mean you cannot do two things at once. It simply means to understand what it is you are choosing to do. This in itself can help lead you towards meditation.

A mindful person can be quite pleasant to be around because mindfulness brings a sense of peace and bliss. Knowing who you are and owning what you choose in the moment with a state of commitment breeds confidence and honor.

How to practice mindfulness?  Here are a few exercises:

  1. Get yourself a grape, raisin or slice of apple. Spend five minutes eating it. Savor it. Narrate it. Mindful eating is the best way to be sure you are chewing your food enough and can even be combined with healing visualization of the food providing health and vitality to the body.
  2. In the temple, we learn walking meditation. Spend one hour walking. Feel exactly how your foot is placed on the earth. Do this barefoot if you can. Narrate out loud to yourself while walking: right foot, step, left foot, step, right foot, step, left foot, step. Allow each step 5-10 seconds. Do it.
  3.  There are many ways to apply mindfulness exercise. The practice of mindfulness allows you to come up with some of your own.

When mindfulness is present, truth exists. See if you can find it.

~Douglas