Why did you start practicing yoga? Many of us come to the mat for the physical benefits of flexibility, strength, balance, and equanimity. Some people start a yoga journey for the promised benefits of relieving stress and quieting the mind. Others seek spiritual enlightenment. No matter what path you travel, you’ll receive the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of yoga.
Yoga’s benefits are interconnected. According to T.K.V. Desikachar, the author of the Heart of Yoga, it all stems from Patanjali’s eight-limbed path of yoga and his seminal text, the Yoga Sutras: “…the essence of Yoga, was formulated by the great Indian sage, Patanjali, more than two thousand years ago in this succinct definition: Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that direction without any distractions.” -Yoga Sutra 1.2 Citta Vritti Nirodhah
We live in a busy world governed by multi-tasking, speed, and technology. Choosing to turn off your phone, and to leave work, relationships, and daily stress behind is the first step to creating a clear, peaceful mind. Falling into the habit of simply reacting to situations is easy and choosing to pause and breathe first requires diligent effort. We cannot control much of what happens in the world, but we can learn to control our reactions and create more space in our reaction time through yoga.
From this quiet internal space, we can direct our attention where we wish it to go.
When you step onto the mat, whether it is a vigorous Vinyasa flow or a gentle Yin class, a vital part of the practice is learning to stay present through both the challenging and the routine parts of class. Use the breath as a tool to tune out external distractions and turn your awareness inward. Pay attention to the sensations in your body. How you react on the mat mirrors how you react the other twenty-three hours of the day. Learning to tune in and trust your thoughts and feelings will develop your self-awareness and intuition.
Each time you step onto the mat, you have the chance to become the best version of yourself.
Our body, mind, and heart are inextricably linked. A strong supple physical body will keep you free from pain and allow you to sit for meditation and focus on quieting your mind. Learning to direct your thoughts where you want them to go instead of being at the mercy of temporary distractions will aid you in mastering physical postures because you can focus on standing on your hands or holding a balancing posture.
This week we bring you four classes that focus on what happens mentally, while moving through the physical yoga practice. This week's classes support greater concentration, mindfulness, reprogramming old patterns, and a greater awareness of the connection between our body and mind.
Practice one or all of this week's new classes to create a strengthen the connection between your body and mind!
1. Mark Morford - The Body Mandala : Level I
2. Pradeep Teotia - Core Concentration Flow
3. Elise Fabricant - Mindful Movement
4. Eric Paskel - Happy Holds
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