Mindfulness in Action

Duration: 90 minutes (morning) 60 minutes (evening)

A Yoga class is a great laboratory for becoming more mindful, because it forces a collision of conditions that are beyond your control. On any given day the traffic noise might be uncomfortably loud, you may feel bored or restless, your neighbor's sweat might drip on your mat, your hamstrings may feel tight. 

Each yoga pose is a contradiction of opposites. A hand, arm and shoulder pull forwards, a foot, heel and leg resist the movement from the opposite direction. Your pelvis presses downwards to anchor the lower body, the torso twists in an effort to dislodge the connection with the earth.

As your brain feels the stretching in opposite directions, your breath rises in towards your throat, urging you to shorten and speed up each inhalation. Every second seems like an age in time as you wrestle internally with the opposing forces of control and letting go. If this internal battle during your first pose on the mat is not enough; your teacher moves to the next. For the next allocated time, which is measured in breaths not seconds, the Tug-of-War continues.

As the session concludes you become aware that rather than feeling weary from the battle, your body's energetic centers are more aligned. The calm of awareness, mindful of all yet not influenced by existing and continuing distractions provides an inner self-assurance for what may arise next.

Mindfulness techniques allow you to reframe your situation so that you get more out of your yoga class and feel less reactive about things that you usually find irritating and distracting.