Monday, October 8, 2012

Mindfulness in Action - is that an Oxymoron?

We've all heard talk about mindfulness. Usually it is used in the context of being mindful of what you are doing at that moment. Being present with the task at hand. This week's blog is about mindfulness, but also about being present. Because it is my belief that we can be mindful but yet still not be present.

This week's musing from me comes after a moment last week when I found myself doing the billion (ok a slight exaggeration) of physical therapy exercises that I have been assigned to help with my recovery. I was doing those exercises and it occurred to me that while I was focused on the task at hand (mindful) I was rushing through them just to be on to the next exercise so I could finally be done.

I realized that we as humans are always rushing everything we do so we can get to the next thing. As a result we're really not present in the moment. If we're constantly rushing to get to that next thing, then we haven't taken time to enjoy this thing we're doing. For instance, how many of us rush in and out of our yoga poses so we can hurry up and be onto the next one or so we can be done? We're mindful of our poses, but we're not really present because our mind has already moved onto the next pose or a more likely thought, "Are we done with this pose yet, because I am dying!!!!!"

 Yoga is about quieting the mind and being fully present in each moment. Sutra 1.2 of the Yoga Sutras, "Yogah cittavritta nirodha". Loosely translated as "Yoga is the quieting of the fluctuations of the mind." Yoga is the mental discipline of being fully present and mindful in everything we do. Stopping external and internal chattering and becoming one with our soul.

This week's sequence - Mindful Standing Poses. Practice being fully present in each pose. See how your poses change as you mind becomes quite and your body and mind respond to that quiet.

Swastikasana (easy cross leg pose)
Tadasana - (Mountain pose)
Urdvha Hastasana (upward hand pose)
Gomukhasana (cow face pose - arms only)
Vrksasana - Tree Pose
Garudasana - Eagle pose
Trikonasana - Triangle pose
Parivrtta Trikonasana - Revolved Triangle pose - use a block on the inside of foot (helps with stability)
Virabhadrasana II - Warrior II - back foot at the wall (Make sure forward leg is in a 90degree bend and knee is in line with hip - back leg straight).
Utthita Parvakonasana - Extended side angle - back foot at wall. (Make sure forward leg is in a 90degree bend and knee is in line with hip, back leg straight). Hand can be on a block.
Ardha Chandrasana - with block at the wall (half moon pose) or with chair
Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward facing dog pose x 2
Sirsasana - headstand - (only if you have done head stand with me or a capable teacher)
Salamba Sarvangasana on a chair - if you don't know this pose or have a chair you can use then substitute with:
Setubandha Sarvangasana - supported bridge pose with block under the sacrum.
Savasana - corpse pose - 5- 10 minutes (don't cheat yourself out of this quiet time)