Feeling overwhelmed all the time?
Our multi-tasking, multi-screen existence scatters our attention and fires up our stress responses, keeping us in a constant, low-level “fight or flight” state. We live inside our heads, straining our senses and craning our necks towards an endless carousel of urgent demands. Slow down for a moment. Inside the eye of the storm, there’s a quiet space waiting for you.
How can yoga help the busy mind?
The mind has a tendency to disconnect from the body and create worry. How often do you find yourself in a state of anxiety as you relive a past event? Do you feel overwhelmed as you make a mental to-do list for tomorrow while your mind races from one thought to the next? Over time, we begin to live from a place of habitually induced anxiety and tension. Through focused movement, breathing, and meditation, our minds are encouraged to relax and to connect with our bodies and the present moment.
Let's have a look closer!
Physical (Asana) practice
The physical practice of yoga provides the opportunity to draw the mind in, by connecting with (and concentrating on) the alignment of the body. This is especially true with balance poses, which require full attention to the mind, body, and breath. There isn’t any room for to-do-lists or hashing out past events, or even future “what ifs” when one is totally focused on balance. Of course, each practice is different and some days we are more focused than others, but relief can be obtained simply by showing up to practice on a regular basis.
Breathing (Pranayama) practices
Practicing slow and deep breathing creates an environment in the body and mind for deeper calm, a more profound sense of letting go, and deeper relaxation. Concentrating on your breathing during the practice also helps you stay in the present moment and takes your thoughts away from the daily routine. The quality of our breath relates to the quality of the mind. The pace and depth of the breath reflect our mental, emotional, and physiological state. The next time you are scared, angry, or anxious, notice the quality of your breath. It will most likely be quick, short, and shallow. On the reverse, when you are calm and deeply relaxed, notice the quality of your breath. Here you will more likely experience your breath as relaxed, long, and deep.
Meditation offers a chance to quiet the body and mind, moving deeper into a state of relaxation and silence. Simply put, meditation is about allowing enough space in your head for your mind to settle and then resting in a place of peace that will naturally arise. There are many forms of mediation from which to choose. You might try different approaches until you find what works best for you. The key is to make time every day to draw your senses inward and connect with your breath and yourself.
Yoga and meditation can help you step back from habitual thinking and emotions, allowing more clarity and perspective. As we practice being present through movement, slow deep breathing, and meditation practices, our mind begins to calm and our body starts to relax. We experience a calmer state that can spill over into our daily lives, causing an experience of ease in every aspect of life.
The more time we spend in this place of deep relaxation and present moment awareness, the more likely we are to act with the qualities of understanding, compassion, and patience.
There are even more benefits!
With regular yoga practice, the mind becomes calmer, centered and focused. As a result, productivity and efficiency at work increases and success rates are higher. You might be surprised to see how you can end up finishing some work in about 1-2 hours, which might have taken you double the time earlier. And the effort involved: just 30-60 minutes of yoga, 2-3 times a week.
So now that we have opportunities, either at work or outside, to practice yoga and make a choice for good health, let’s get going. Invest 21 days in yourself (3 weeks is enough to form a good habit ). Take at least 15 minutes off every day to visit a space of peace and deep rest. In time, you might just find that your daily practice has become your life-long companion.