Work from home, virtual, and isolation are just a few words we are more than familiar with nowadays. Many of us have even picked up more responsibilities working from home – childcare and housekeeping are often tacked on top of our regular workload. With such heavy and unsure timelines, it is beyond difficult to take time for yourself, and super easy to feel overwhelmed or burned out.
Having thirty things going on at once is not a “new normal” by any means, but in addition to being consistently alone? It’s a lot. Practicing mindfulness helps to clear away the cobwebs and keeps you in the moment. It forces you to restart your thinking and focus on one thing: just be.
In our last blog post, we talked about practicing mindfulness through breathing. You can check that out here.
Another option for practicing mindfulness is to get moving. Mindful yoga is great for learning to have an alert focus to the physical activity you are doing, and is a good practice for being mindful when you are on the go. Being mindful while doing yoga is the same as any other time you are practicing mindfulness:
Pay attention to when your mind wanders
Pay attention to your body
- How is your breathing? Is it shallow, deep, fast, or slow?
- Where are the sensations in your body?
- Are you wondering when the pose will end?
- Are you comparing yourself to others doing the same pose?
Here are some poses to try while practicing mindful yoga:
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
This pose is great for bringing awareness to all areas of the body and mind. Mountain Pose is the foundation of all standing poses and helps establish good alignment. Come to a stand with your big toes touching (you can slightly separate your heels if your ankles are touching and that makes you uncomfortable). Rotate both thighs inward to widen your sit bones, draw in your belly slightly, widen your collarbones and stack your shoulders over your pelvis. Let your arms hang naturally with the palms facing forward, elongate your neck with a relaxed chin. Take a few mindful breaths. You did it!
Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
Focus on finding your balance, try not to judge yourself for your inability to stand on one leg if you cannot. Begin in Mountain Pose. Bend your right knee and place your foot high on your left inner thigh, making sure it’s flat and firm. Your left leg should be straight, take your time to find your balance. Once you feel steady, take a deep breath and place your palms together in front of your chest. Raise your arms above your head, palms still touching. Ensure your spine is straight and continue to breathe deeply. On a slow exhalation, bring your hands down to your sides and gently return to Mountain Pose. Repeat this pose on the opposite side.
Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
The low lunge pose improves balance, concentration, and core awareness. Be aware of your breathing and whether you want the pose to be over. Begin in Downward-Facing Dog. Exhale and step your right foot forward between your hands (if you can), and align the right knee over the heel. Lower your left knee to the floor and slide it back until you feel a comfortable stretch in the left front thigh and groin. The top of your left foot should be on the floor. Inhale and lift your torso up, sweeping your arms up to the sky. Draw your tailbone to the floor and lift your chest and head. Hold for a minute, then undo the process, returning to Downward-Facing Dog. Repeat with the opposite side.
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
This pose is restorative and a wonderful segue to meditation. Focus on your thoughts, does your mind start to wander? Are you experiencing any discomfort? Lay on the floor, using a supportive blanket or pillow for your head and neck if needed. Bring your knees up, and slowly let them fall to the floor in opposite directions as much as is comfortable, with the bottoms of your feet touching. Lay your arms out to your sides, palms facing up. Stay in this pose as long as is comfortable.
Congratulations! You just practiced mindfulness. If you need more help or guidance, try watching a video on YouTube. There are many free applications and videos available to the public. Try a few different ones to find something that works for you!
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