When we are able to relax, you’ll feel how your energy feels calmer, your awareness expands, you begin to notice things around you rather than just circulating your to-do list in your mind unable to perceive outside of yourself. Take a moment to breathe, notice your whole body, breathe again, notice the sounds around you, the room you are in, feel the vastness of life when you allow yourself to slow down.
Mindfulness is a practice that trains us to be present, aware and non-judgmental. Taking a moment to listen, to our body, to our heart, to our energy. You can discern the early warning signs to abate an angry explosion. Where does your body hold stress? When are you uncomfortable? When is it time to rest? When we take stock of our current situation is only when we can ascertain the best course of action rather than waiting to reach breaking point. There has been lots of research done on the interconnection between our feelings and our breathing. When we are calm we breathe deep and slowly, what happens when we are angry? Immediately the breath becomes short and fast, Pranayama is the practice of breathwork, by simply changing how we breathe we can re-engineer our emotional state. Eureka!
Yoga integrates body and mind, it includes practices of movement, mindfulness and meditation. This is traditional yoga, not the pseudo-acrobatics you sometimes see in fad studios, yoga is designed for personal integration. It is a 4000 year old practice of finding peace within. Why movement? Sometimes when the mind is restless it gives rise to a lot of energy, we need to expel this energy first before we can sit still and feel comfortable within ourselves, that is why we have vinyasa, flow, power, core, stretch sequences it is to first connect with the fundamental level of the body, get out of our heads and move and feel the energy. Once our energy is more balanced we can begin to notice more subtle rhythms, like the breath, our life force, how can we improve the efficacy of the breath, the vitality of our being? Breathing techniques help to train calmer and gentler rhythms and expel any stale and stagnant air in the lungs, this fuels the brain and the body and makes an enormous impact on our mood and emotional well-being. Once our energy is calm and our mind is equanimous then we are ready for meditation, this is a clearing of mental patterns, being in a state of tranquility and relaxation. Research has shown how meditation enhances learning and nuero-plasticity to make space for new ways of thinking, clearing limiting beliefs. Remember, the mind expands during relaxation not during stress, so when we regularly meditate stress that has been bottled up gets a chance to release, it’s like letting the steam out of a pressure cooker, you need to turn off the fire and allow it to dispel. The danger is when we suppress our emotions so that they build up and erupt, yoga teaches us how to pause and acknowledge what we are holding and consciously let it go. By all means if something is upsetting you, do something about it, anger is a catalyst for action, change is needed but make your choices when you are calm and clear rather than when you are overcome emotionally.