Mindfulness…

This delicate and deceptively simple pen drawing of a curled gum leaf is from the Meditative Studies 2012 series.

This delicate and deceptively simple pen drawing of a curled gum leaf is from the Meditative Studies 2012 series.

Paying attention during our yoga practice, we build our awareness muscles so that we can pay attention at other times during our lives when we find ourselves suffering or living unskillfully. We can awaken to the realization that we have a choice. We don’t have to live life on auto-pilot and we can choose whether we want to react or act in any given situation. We can choose how we want to feel and whether our feelings should or could inspire action or reaction or simple stillness. There are psychological and physiological benefits to mindfulness as well. There are many studies that show that mindfulness – just simply paying attention to what is actually happening – can reduce our stress level, calm the heart, reduce blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve insomnia, lessen anxiety and depression, heal chronic pain, improve energy levels, improve exercise tolerance, improve concentration, among many other benefits. When we have mindfulness, we gain all of these benefits. When we are mindful in our yoga practice, we build all of these benefits along with the benefits that come from being in the pose itself. – inspired by a video from Bernie Clark

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