The transformative power of breath
“Breathe in, Breathe out what does not serve you”
I read the words and I held them tightly as I entered the yoga class… for the whole 26 postures and the two breathing exercises.
The yoga studio I attend is not your average studio. It is the best*
The team, the people, the energy, the work, all make one hell of a nourishing environment. It’s not body stretching exercise, it’s total soul enrichment.
Yoga is a form of open eye meditation
As the body moves and twists and pulls…
As we compress and massage organs and stretch muscles…
As the mind wanders we bring it back…
And together the yogis are encouraged by the instructor to stay focused in the room, in the here and now, on the body and on the breath…and together we hold body postures that strengthen our mind.
Yoga is my place to escape and to tune in to me
As our worlds become filled with digital technology, as social media platforms expand and beckon us to respond to every ding and swish, as our senses learn to respond more quickly to external stimulation…we forget to be quiet …and listen to the gentle hush…and the drowning whisper of the inner self.
How do you engage more deeply with yourself?
Where do you go to find the hush between the sounds of our world?
Do you have a mind- less practice?
In 1979 John Kabat Zinn, the founder of mindfulness developed the 8- week stress reduction program (MBSR). This has now entered mainstream health care and education because it works. The benefits are well documented in scientific literature and people report that it reduces stress, improves relationships, reduces pain symptoms, improves concentration and numerous other benefits. John kabat Zinn talks about mindfulness as present moment awareness, and in yoga that awareness is picked up and placed right inside the body and on the breath as it enters and leaves the body.
As we pull, push and hold in the class, the breath comes to life linking the inside with the outside.
Body and breath energy…they work in perfect alignment to stretch, compress and tighten and release whatever is held inside.
Meditation is a form of mindfulness
What happens inside your skin, is unseen and unfelt by the world… but as you take and hold your awareness in the body, it speaks. Sometimes it’s a whisper as you gently shift in a movement, and sometimes it yells at you and commands you to breath into the tightness of your own body. What are you holding inside that needs to be released to free you from mental clutter… are you listening?
The important part of mindfulness is that you are inside your awareness and that you do this “non judgementally”- that means, watching, listening and sensing without analysing, evaluating and judging…and for most people that is the hardest part of the practice. How on earth do we stop our mind with its incessant chatter that is all too often critical and judgemental?
In my workshops I talk about Noticing
Have you noticed that your mind is like a radio that is always ON?
It constantly judges, evaluates and analyses, gives it’s commentary to your senses and tells you to do this, watch out for that…it’s permanently ON… and it’s exhausting.
When you Notice, the tirade of thoughts and the tone of your thoughts, you get to meet yourself and know yourself in a very intimate way.
Is your inner mind voice gentle? Commanding? Loud? Loving?
For most people their inner voice is a critic that does not shut up.
What if we just noticed and embraced the inner critic…gently…calmly?
Our inner critic has been trained well through societal conditioning and the education system to think and analyse. And we applaud and reward people with medals and honours and degrees from mega analysis institutions called universities. So the mind gets very good at judging and analysing. It’s a well-rehearsed script after all…
Have you lost the OFF switch to your mind?
The therapeutic modalities I use in my therapy sessions with clients involve mindfulness. And if people have not heard of the practice, I give a taster and then watch their delight as they allow themselves to do nothing but listen to my voice and feel their breath. It’s only a few minutes, but they find it refreshing to have permission to press the pause button of life and return to their normal, natural state of calm. They promise to do more, learn more and experience more. In my workshops they get more…
Mindfulness is integrated in all my workshops. The self is seen as a concept… It’s the most powerful tool for self -awareness, and no matter what your burden is, there is wisdom in looking IN before we look OUT. This is empowering. This is freedom in whatever keeps you stuck.
Join me for “Building a Marathon Mind: A toolkit for everyday life resilience “. It’s a 2- day life changing program where you’ll get lots of techniques to keep you in mentally tip top shape.
Coming soon July 2017
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to hold a spot.
*Bikram Yoga Five Dock in Sydney.