Finding Peaceful Mindfulness (Yoga Challenge: Day 20)

My mind was a bit of a train wreck tonight.

I was really looking forward to that Yin class. It’s so nice to have the lights down low, to just relax into postures and keep yourself in a half sleep for the duration of the class. But Yin is also where my mind wanders the most. And if it isn’t wandering, it’s complaining about the pain of the posture I’m in if it’s particularly difficult.

Some people tell me that yoga is a great place to “figure stuff out.” There is a danger in this, however. If we can take our minds off of things than, yes, yoga can help. But by thinking about things too much, we may as well be ranting about it with a girlfriend over coffee. It usually gets us nowhere. I had something on my mind tonight and I thought yoga would help me work through it. But when the class was over I felt like it hadn’t even begun yet because I never let go and relaxed into the class.

Lesson from Day 20

Tonight I should have just stayed in Savasana or seated meditation if my goal was to calm my mind. Instead I went through the motions of the class with my mind completely elsewhere. Sure, I learned this lesson and stretched out a few kinks, but for the most part I wasted an opportunity to get away from my nagging thoughts.

Don’t waste your mind in yoga. Just keep it focused on your body and on being free from judgement.

Peaceful mindfulness is as valuable as your time, if not completely interconnected to it.

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I’d love to hear what you have to say, what you’ve gotten out of these posts, and for those of you doing the yoga challenge as well, how the challenge is going for you! Feel free to comment below, post a comment on Facebook, send me a message through Twitter or send me an email.

© Meghan J. Ward, 2011.

 

Practising Mindfulness (Yoga Challenge: Day 7)

I missed yoga today.

But I was supposed to. And you can take that sentence two ways: I also really missed practising and the benefits of that daily routine.

Today was a rest day (6 on, 1 off) and today I practised being mindful in everything I was doing. I did a little bit of work this morning, sent out some emails, and ran errands. When I came home from town I started working on a new vegetarian recipe (Quinoa Cakes with Lemon Yogurt Sauce) from a cookbook I recently got from my cousin. And then I made Banana Bread (impressed, Mom?), which is baking in the oven as I type. I am happy to say that I didn’t think about anything else the whole time and I remained 100% present to what I was making. If you read my guest post on freshcrackedpepper.com you’ll learn that this isn’t always the case and sometimes I end up burning food into oblivion.

Mindfulness makes the meal, not great ingredients.

Lesson from Day 7

Remain present in the small things: making a cup of coffee, buying groceries, talking on the phone (come on, we’ve all had conversations and hung up and not had a clue what the person said). Each of these activities will become pleasurable and fulfilling in their own ways. Often we rush through the monotony and everydayness of life and miss out on the lessons and blessings that come with these things. That cup of coffee will taste a thousand times better if you close your eyes and sip it with intention instead of downing it while you work at your computer. At least do this for the first sip.

I’m off to enjoy those Quinoa Cakes with Banana Bread for dessert. They’ll taste that much better, no matter how they turn out, because they were made with love and intention.

© Meghan J. Ward, 2011.