Friday, March 11, 2016

Clearing the Clutter with Yoga: Mindful Movement

about mindful movement
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

Just recently, I have become even more aware of how highly our contemporary culture values multi-tasking and maintaining a very fast pace through the various activities of our daily lives. Over and over again, I am reminded of the humorous television advertisement of a Yogini, who is balancing precariously in Half Moon Pose, while she attempts to check her car insurance bill on her cell phone. The inferred message of this ad is that a Yoga practitioner, who simultaneously practices asanas while checking his or her cell phone, is living a happier and more productive life than a practitioner who checks his or her phone application after class! 

Of course, this incessant multi-tasking ends up leaving many of us unable to relax or even to sleep. The wide spread epidemic of insomnia in the United States alone is a testament to the law of diminishing returns when one tries to always multi-task and is unable to slow down enough to truly rest and relax. As the Spring Equinox begins to approach, many Yoga students and teachers alike are beginning to feel the itch to clear the clutter out of their homes and embark on a regime of detoxifying their bodies, often through a spring cleanse of fasting, nutritional juices and living foods. 

Practicing Yoga can be a great ally in your quest to clear the clutter out of your living space, as well as out of your body and mind. The simple act of setting time aside to practice the physical postures of Yoga, as well as cleansing breathing exercises and restorative relaxation techniques, will break the unrelenting cycle of “doing” that so many of us find ourselves mired in during our daily lives. By turning your phone off for an hour and unplugging from your laptop or iPad, you will allow yourself the opportunity to focus on the simplicity and grace of moving through a balanced Yoga practice. 

Of course, some of you may have young children or family members who require you to be available by phone for much of the day. In that case, you may want to let you family members know when you plan on practicing Yoga, so that they will only call you or interrupt your practice if necessary. Nonetheless, by asking your family members not to disturb you during your hour or so on the mat, you are more likely to be able to mindfully move through your practice without becoming distracted. 

In a similar fashion, disciplining yourself to not check your text messages or emails until after you have completed your Yoga practice, will help you to sink into a meditative state while you flow through the asanas. If you pause for a moment to visualize practicing Yoga with your cell phone or laptop next to your mat, so that you can stay wired and connected at all times, this image most likely creates a feeling of distraction and anxiety. If you unplug for an hour or so a day, while you are on the mat, you will allow yourself to sink into your Yoga practice without distraction. 

By moving meditatively and mindfully through your practice, your nervous system will begin to calm down, and you will find it easier to focus on moving intuitively through the postures. You will also begin to find it easier to really feel the shifting state of your body and mind as your practice deepens. If you are a Yoga teacher, by asking your students to unplug during your class, you will be offering them the same opportunity to slow down and really connect with how their bodies feel in the poses. 

As a certified Yoga instructor, it is also important for you to set the pace of the class you are teaching. If you feel frantic and rushed, your students will pick up on that energy and the Yoga class that you are teaching will not be as beneficial or restorative as it would be otherwise. By not cluttering up your class with too many postures or quick transitions, you will allow your students to slow down enough to really breath, as they move mindfully through the postures. Teaching Yoga in this way will create a sense of lightness and spaciousness in the bodies and minds of your students, which will help them to identify and clear the clutter out of other areas of their lives.   

Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she works as a writer and an academic support specialist. 

© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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1 comment:

parvezbdjsr said...

Practicing Yoga can be a great ally in our quest to clear the clutter out of our living space, as well as out of our body and mind.