Yoga is all about living a life of Mindfulness, and not merely an hour of physical practice, says Manish Pole!
I’ve always held the view, from the very start of my Teaching career 20 years ago, that today: I may need Meditation to sort out my Life. And I still do! But there should come a day, when I don’t need Mindfulness practice as my whole Life itself will be my Yoga.
Until then though, let’s look at 5 ways in which we can bring more Mindfulness to our Yoga practice.
1) SANKALPA: this Sanskrit word can be translated as Resolution or Intent.
Yoga is an incredible Life-transformation tool, which is most effective once you make a Resolve on what you want to do in life. Then you remain more mindful through the practice of the physical Asanas, Breathwork and Meditation, and how they guide your journey in that practice, and through Life.
2) BREATH ANIMATES MOVEMENT: it’s not about merely adding some mindful breathing at the start and end.
Tune into your Breath at the start of your Practice and keep the focus on staying Mindful of your Breath all through the Asana flow and holds.
Understand that it’s not just how the physical body moves into poses, but how the Breathing animates and directs your movements.
3) ‘ASANA’ means SEAT, and is meant to train Stillness.
Modern Man needs movement because it’s missing in more people’s lives. However once the movement is accomplished, the key focus of Asana training is to support our body in Stillness as we engage in Meditation and Mindfulness practice.
Remain mindful of what your Mind is talking to you in each pose, training to attain Silence; and not be swayed by the complexity of the gymnastic quality of the movement.
4) AWARENESS: Either DO Yoga or WATCH your Body-Mind in YOGA.
It’s not about stretching your Body, or slowing your Breath – yes it is, but there a subtlety beyond all this.
Yoga is about being Aware, being Mindful of what your Body-Mind is upto during the practice.
Be mindful of your hamstring being Stretched v/s Stretching your hamstring. Same work to the outsider, yet completely different inner experience for the practitioner.
5) MINDFULNESS is YOGA’s gift to us!
Eventually you’ll find that it’s not the flexibility, strength or calmness only, but the Mindfulness throughout your day that is Yoga’s biggest gift to you.
Instead of asking our Mind to control it’s thoughts, we embark on a journey of Cleansing (Shatkriyas), Stillness (Asana), Vitality (Pranayam), Focus (Dharana & Dhyana) and eventually Self-Realisation (Kaivalya)
I’ve shared these terms so that you have a simple layman’s understanding of this eternal Science.
I sincerely hope you get to meet a Yogi some day, and share a Himalayan Sunset watching experience with that wise soul – one evening will teach you lot more than our limited Yoga Teacher Training Courses.
And hopefully one day, we won’t need to practice Mindfulness because our whole Life will be our Yoga!
MANISH POLE Yogi & Teacher since 2003
Manish travels the world leading Yoga Retreats, Teacher Training Courses and curating Wellness Festivals.
Manish lived in his Guru’s house for 7 years training in Yoga & Meditation whilst teaching globally. Later he co-founded Total Yoga in 2010, training Teachers who taught daily in India, USA, UK, UAE & NZ. In 2020 he founded 21st Century Yoga.
BEYOND ASANA is a deep dive into everything Yoga! It has all the content that is taught at a 300hr Teacher Training Courses.
Many people want to immerse into Yoga subjects, but there is no course that offers them this, and they are forced to embark on Teacher Training to actually simply learn all this.
Beyond Asana has 15 courses including Ayurveda, Mudras, Mantras, Pranayama, Philosophy, Yoga Nidra, Meditation, Anatomy, Chakras and more! Each is a Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Program certification course, including PDFs and pre-recorded Lecture Videos.