Moving Meditation: Why I Practice Yoga

in mindfulmonday •  last month 


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Whilst I enjoy a more traditional meditation practice where I sit and observe the breath, it's yoga I turn to when things get really tough. It's a meditative practice because it necessitates a deep listening and encourages a self awareness that helps me navigate through life. Breath and movement connect. There is a sense of divine in these yokings (yoga means to yoke) of breath, spirit and mind - everything becomes one effortless motion, the self falls away, and returning the ground in savasana allows for a final moment of stillness and is-ness where sometimes it is possible to fall into a sense of infinite awareness. I am far more likely to enter this state after motion, than by sitting.

I've found it impossible to sit lately. Mostly, that's because my system desperately needs a release of cortisol. Of late, I've been hyper anxious, so much so my neck muscles are like piano wire, I have a pressing weight in my chest and my jaw is tight. My thoughts are okay, though - I am aware that they are just thoughts and that there is no need to identify with them. I might return, and return, and return to the ones that consistently bother me, but I know what my mind is doing - a meditation practice does help me see the difference between what is real and what is just my - the - thinking monkey mind.

But still, the thoughts come, and the uneasiness and distress in my physical body is palpable - so much so that it is incredibly hard to 'sit' and 'just breath'. It's this awful feedback loop where the sensation of anxiety can create more anxiety. Whenever I am so uneasy and so unsettled, it's really hard to find steadiness and ease in my physical self, whether I'm sitting and meditating, doing a difficult task or busting a yoga move.

Patanjali, in his yoga sutras, clearly stated that:

II.45 sthira-sukham asanam
Posture should be done with steadiness and ease.

That's difficult to do if there is straining or forcing, a tension that can also be seen as a disharmony between thought and action. You can't sit or do trikanasana and wobble when your thoughts are like this - even in stillness everything is in motion. My heart is thumping. My thoughts are racing. The balance shifts from one sitbone to the other, one foot to the other. Try doing vrkshana (tree pose) when your life is off balance. It's very, very hard to do.

However, when you learn to relax into this shifting motion, it's possible to achieve and hold stillness. Even in the motion. You can't force stillness - it has to be leant into. This is when balance is achieved. There becomes less conflict with movement, the self, the breath. Everything harmonises. Stillness, then, becomes not the ABSENCE of movement, but a dynamic unity of breath, energy, life, movement, spirit, body - whatever you call them, all the seemingly disparate parts of me unite.

It is what the Bhagavad Gita says: “…yoga is skill in action.”. There is 'action in the midst of inaction and inaction in the midst of action.”.

Thus, I find stillness and harmony through moving through a vinyasa practice - and often, more easily than sitting. It helps me focus on my breath far better because the breath becomes an important tool to notice and release tension. If my breath is short or erratic, I cannot hold a posture, and I find it hard to move gracefully through my asana practice. By cultivating this skill of evening out my breath, I find far more peace in my practice, which extends outward into my daily life.



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I wish I could get my wife more into this! She gets so stressed out I feel bad she can’t just decompress.

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Is this something you would do together, assisting each other? Or individually? I think my wife prefers activities we can do together, assisting each other, rather than individually next to each other. It helps to have a little more push in a stretch.

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Yes you can. I used to love doing yoga with my husband. Her phone now most of the time I practice with my eyes closed because the felt sense is more valuable than what is seen or heard. It is really good to talk about the process together or the lessons learnt. And in the early days the technical side of yoga is a fascinating thing in itself and it's helpful to have a partner to share it with full stop as I have got older I have realised it is not so much about ascertaining a perfect shape but how it feels in your individual body.

It is nice sharing yoga or meditation or any practice with the one you love as you can inspire each other and support each other. Xx

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I look forward to doing yoga with her, we tend to do all these things together which is great because most of our friends do them to get away from their spouses. With no help with kids it’s just difficult, hoping we can get a solid nap for it lol.

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I will plan on doing it together with her. It’s just hard because of kids and no help from family. I’m new to yoga as well but can calm down much easier than she. It’s just her nature and what makes her great at what she does, but it’s also difficult. I really think yoga will help, it’s just getting the time for us to do it.

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Awe! Find her a style and teacher she enjoys. There's so much variety either in studio or online. Perhaps practice with her ❤

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Thanks, she says she can’t focus when doing yoga; she’s a busy-bee! Always got a million things and mind never stops. I will try to do some basics with her to start.

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Yes. Some students have a hard time with the busy mind. And, while i find it hard to believe --yoga is not for everyone. Perhaps she'd prefer to go for a run to clear her mind? Whatever will work for her is what she should do. It's great you're into yoga & that you are so supportive ❤

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Ha yes, I do all my best planning in yoga!! Mind you, not anymore... I've learnt to focus on breath breath breath... so all else fades away. Some days though... whirring thoughts!!! I think you just learn over time. It's neuroscience.. rewiring brain. Now I just roll out mat and start to let go! I totally get where she's coming from though! Totally been there.

Great you do things together. I know people like that.. doing things to get AWAY from their spouses!!! Makes me sad. I guess there's different forms of love and relationships...but that's not for me.

How old are your kids?

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Awesome post my friend ❤ Yoga is a very dear friend. I am sorry you've been so stressed lately. Hugs! And, note to stress.....bug off! Love, Light and Joy. Namaste 🕉

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Namaste yoga sister. Leaning into these feelings that are teaching me something. Thank god yoga supports me in that way or I would be a total mess instead of mostly haha. Thanks for your lovely comment beautiful xx

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Oh girl!! Please practice for me. It's such a strange reality to not be able to process life with a sweaty vinyasa practice on the regular. It's been almost two years!! Since my last full practice. So glad i had a mature practice for a long time. Brings yoga to a whole new level. And it is surely not all that comfortable which is far more challenging than some of those advanced flow sequences 🙀 I can sense your longing for a less stressful reality ❤

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Indeed!!! I've actually been enjoying a beautiful class that begins in a very restorative way, a bit of yin style, then a hatha kinda flow in middle.. back to ground. It's so lovely... haven't done a full on vinyasa in months and a bit scared to go back!!!

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Oh that sounds like a lovely class. Very grounding. What is the class called? Is it heated or non-heated? And, how long does it run? I am so curious! 🌱❤🙏

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Yin yang. Non heated but imagine it's be good at 28c. Heated studio. Really lovely..a beautiful teacher, very nurturing! 90 minutes.

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Oh! 90 min yin/ yang are my fave! Love teaching them too. And, restorative/ meditation. Perfect temperature. So good. Keep enjoying 🌹💐🌷

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It's funny because if I said it was yin yang to start with it wouldn't quite capture this class. Everybody teaches it so differently. Sometimes people might be just teaching the shapes. I like it with the meditation and philosophy interwoven xx

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Aaah @riverflows so nice!!!! Resteemed! Ata yogash anusasanam!!!
Right here
Right now
Start to be your true self!!!!
One love
One heart
Yoga and om!!!

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Awwwww.... Xxxx Many om xxx 💚💚💚

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You're like a thousand step in front of me. 😁

I never doing yoga. Just simple meditation

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When I understood Yoga is Moving Meditation I began to appreciate the idea of doing it more - I did a few exercises and indeed noticed if I focus on my breathing I can do more - it's amazing. Something I never achieved by just sitting still. Love your passion for yoga!

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