I have recently come to the conclusion that our community should start spending a portion of their time regularly participating in yoga mindfulness activities considering the bountiful benefits it provides. To be honest with you guys, I don’t practice yoga on my own or in my free time (yet), but after learning more about it I realized I wanted to try to incorporate it into my schedule.
As high schoolers, the majority of us experience a certain amount of anxiety and often times, we struggle to cope with it or find strategies to calm our minds down. The sole purpose of yoga is to train your mind and body to become aware of their nature and cultivate a higher consciousness as an individual. I feel like this is something we are all trying to learn on our own while we battle our own thoughts and emotions.
There are plenty of mindfulness activities out there and , but the unique thing about yoga is that it integrates every part of your body and connects it to your mind, striving to find a comforting sensation within yourself. Being mindful is about slowing down the traffic in your head, putting up the stop signs and stop lights if you will, and focus on the present thing ahead of you.
Mindfulness is also intentionally living with awareness in the present moment, not judging or rejecting the moment, and instead being fully attached. Yoga helps us experience this through movements of our body. We all want to reduce suffering and increase happiness, have control of our thoughts and experience reality as it is. To get you started, here is an example of what yoga entails as said by Nora Isaacs in her article, “Bring More Mindfulness Onto the Mat,” “You’re standing in Warrior Pose I. You actively reach through your back foot and allow your tailbone to descend away from your lower back as your arms reach up toward the ceiling. As you hold the pose you start to notice your front thigh burning, your shoulders holding tension, and your breath becoming labored. Still holding. Soon you get agitated and start to anticipate the joy you’ll feel when the pose is over.”
Now imagine this: You’re standing in Warrior Pose I, noticing the same sensations, having the same thoughts and feelings—anger, boredom, impatience, tension. But instead of reacting, you simply observe your thoughts. You remember that this pose, like everything else in life, will eventually end. You remind yourself not to get caught up in your own storyline. And, in the midst of feeling irritated while your thighs burn, you appreciate the sweetness of the moment. You’ve just experienced the benefits of mindfulness—of bringing your awareness into the present moment, of noticing and accepting what is happening right now without judgment or reaction.