As the new year rings in, you're probably wondering what changes you want to make…
Regretting a past mistake, worrying about the future…how much of our mental bandwidth is spent in either the past or the future? Often, our emotional and mental stress comes from things that have already happened or future concerns, but what if we started living fully in the present and experiencing life as it happens? This state is referred to as mindfulness, and our yoga studio in Smithfield, NC is sharing how mindfulness can change your life and improve your wellbeing as well as exercises to help you incorporate it into your daily life.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a state of being in which you are fully, actively in the present and focusing on life as it happens in the moment. To take it a step further, mindfulness is not just about thinking of the here and now, it’s accepting where you are and the world around you as it is, without judgement.
Benefits of Mindful Living
Studies, such as ones performed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts, show that practicing mindfulness offers a variety of physical and emotional benefits, including:
- Reduced stress
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Lowered blood pressure
- Improved sleep
- Reduced chronic pain
- Reduced anxiety
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved outcomes in addiction treatment
- Increased satisfaction and happiness
By living in the moment, you are able to let go of what happened in the past and accept what is happening in the here and now. This can help reduce stress which plays an important role in overall improved wellbeing and physical health.
Practicing Mindfulness in Your Daily Life
Practicing mindfulness doesn’t require an entire lifestyle shift or anything beyond a few minutes of meditation a day. Simply find a quiet space and try one of the following activities:
- Basic meditation and breathing exercise: Focus on your natural breathing, feeling air enter and leave your lungs as you clear your mind by focusing on a focal point or a calming mantra.
- Sensory awareness: Practice slow, deep breathing while you notice sights, smells, sounds, and other sensations around you. Name what you experience, accept them as part of the moment, and allow them to pass.
- Emotional awareness: Practice slow, deep breathing while you feel the emotions you are experiencing fully within the moment. Name each emotion you’re experiencing – sadness, frustration, joy, excitement – and accept that you are feeling it as you allow it to pass. There is no need to explore why you’re feeling the emotion, simply accept that it is within you at the moment, and that you can let it pass.
Practicing yoga also allows you to incorporate mindfulness. As you move into a pose, focusing on your breathing, you’re fully experiencing the moment – the tension in your muscles, the feel of your breath, the sound of your feet against the floor or the music playing. You’re able to observe and accept your thoughts and physical feelings as you exist solely in the present.
Join Us for a Yoga Class in Smithfield, NC
If you’d like to learn more about how yoga can improve mindfulness, reduce stress, and help you live a healthier, more peaceful life, visit The Yoga Connection in Smithfield for a yoga class. View our yoga class schedule and choose the right option for your skill level and preferences or call us at 919-971-1431 to learn more.