“If you can be mindful of your thoughts, of your actions, of your meditation, of your breath and so on, that is called total mindfulness.” – Sri M
Mindfulness is the ability to be completely aware of everything around and within us. It is the quality that lets us know who we are, what we do, and what is around us, while not allowing ourselves to become overwhelmed by everything. Simply put, it is being completely conscious.
While it is an ability we all have and unconsciously exhibit in our day to day life, most often we need to nurture and cultivate this as a habit. Some of the ways we can do this, is through practices such as prayer, pranayama, bandhas, mudras, asanas such as shavasana, and meditation.
Mindfulness does not mean spontaneously acting on your thoughts and feelings, rather, it is an act of simply being aware of them. While it can’t be learnt in a few days, a regular practice of asanas helps increase one’s awareness. Asanas like Tadasana, Vrikshasana and Natrajasana requires the practitioner to focus, keep their attention on their breath and relax into the posture. This naturally brings one’s awareness to the body, mind and breath, thereby making one mindful.
Regular practice of these asanas increases one’s ability to stay one-pointed. In today’s world, where everything is designed to hold your attention for only a few moments, mindfulness brings peace and balance into our chaotic lives.
Simply put, being mindful is to become aware of everything you previously ignored, such as your breath. Pranayama techniques such as Nadi Shuddhi, Kapalabhati and Bhastrika involve bringing control over the incoming and outgoing breath. This process of regulating one’s breath, calms the mind and channelizes the flow of prana.
Internal mindfulness is a form of meditation that one can constantly practise.Meditative asanas such as Padmasana, Vajrasana, Siddhasana and Sukhasana are very conducive for the mind to go inwards, as they help in keeping the spine erect and direct the flow of prana in the upper part of the body. Internally what it does is, it improves our perception, concentration, and emotional understanding, that helps us notice habits that we need to change or discard. Basically, it refines the constitution of both our body and mind, by focusing on the present moment. Training the mind to achieve this level of consciousness may take time and be difficult in the initial stages; however, it becomes easier as one practices on a daily basis.
Learning to practice asanas in attunement with the breath is a powerful mindfulness experience on its own. All the courses offered at BYVK are designed keeping ‘Mindfulness’ as the core concept. This helps one to enhance their daily lives by applying these simple yet powerful techniques.