The world of yoga is vast. The fact that it has been around for centuries, alone, is impressive and tells us that there must be a reason behind its continuous use and popularity. For many, yoga is a physical practice – one used to stretch and exercise the body. However, for others it is so much more.
According to The Balance Career, the average American between the ages of 25 and 54 works around 40.5 hours a week. Add to that running errands, taking care of children and family members, cleaning, cooking, etc., and that doesn’t not leave a lot of time for rest and relaxation. For many people, yoga is that R&R that they need in order to calm their mind and lift their spirit.
Yoga is one of the best ways to calm your mind. You may be wondering what yoga has to do with a calm mind, and we are here to tell you: a lot! Yoga is a connection between mind, body, and spirit. The connection between the mind and body is so important, yet lacking in so many people. Let’s look at some of the many ways to calm your mind with yoga.
Focus in on your breath
One of the best ways to clear and calm your mind is to breathe. Our breath is our guiding life force, yet is so often overlooked and underutilized. By taking a moment (or an entire yoga practice) and drawing our focus inward on our breath, we are able to escape our thoughts and simply be. This can be done by breathwork (pranayama) practices, or simply by tuning in to your breath during a yoga practice. You don’t have to specifically do a breathwork practice to calm your mind with your breath. Just pay attention to your breath as you move in and out of different postures during your yoga practice. Allow your breath to guide you from one position to the next.
Practice relaxing yoga poses
While yoga can be somewhat of a challenge for certain people, there are tons of relaxing, easy poses that you can use to calm your mind and clear away any stress. There are several poses that cultivate a calm mind such as:
- Child’s Pose
- Mountain Pose
- Corpse Pose
- Half Lotus
Of course, there are hundreds of yoga poses out there, some much more challenging than others, but practicing relaxing poses that don’t take much thought or effort is a great way to calm your mind and sink into your body. Practicing yin yoga is another wonderful way to use these yoga poses to your advantage. In yin yoga, you hold poses for a longer amount of time, really allowing yourself to sink into them and use them to your advantage. Not only is it a wonderful, restorative practice, but it is a wonderful way to clear your mind and relax.
Focus on doing poses the “correct” way
While this may not sound very calming, working on your posture and alignment in a certain yoga pose is a great way to escape your other thoughts and focus on one thing. Holding a yoga pose takes concentration, which can help to sharpen your mental focus and calm your mind from its naturally busy state. When holding a pose, take the time to focus on the correct alignment. If you are taking a class, listen to the instructor’s cues and work on aligning your body. If you are practicing on your own, take time to feel into the pose and adjust your body accordingly. When you are focusing on your posture and alignment, you are less focused on outside distractions. This is a great way to clear your mind and release any stressful thoughts you may have.
Be sure to make time for Savasana
Typically the final pose in a yoga practice, Savasana (aka the Corpse Pose) is a resting pose that gives you and your mind a chance to completely let go. It is meant for meditation and after a nice yoga practice, is a perfect way to wrap up and calm your mind. In Savasana, you are typically lying on your mat, arms down by your sides, palms up, and legs splayed out. It is a great time to let go of any and all tension in your body and allow your thoughts to dissipate.
By giving yourself enough time for Savasana at the end of your practice, you are allowing yourself to calm your mind and relax your body. Depending on how long the practice is, time for Savasana will vary. Also, it is up to your preference. If you like to take a longer Savasana, then make sure to leave at least 10-15 minutes at the end of your practice. If you are in more of a time crunch, then be sure to allot for at least 3 minutes of resting time. This will give your mind and body time to reset and prepare for the rest of the day.
Using yoga to calm your mind is a great practice and can truly help with many things such as anxiety, stress, and depression. One last tip, using a yoga mat which is made from non-toxic materials can help you feel more calming effects. So grab your natural yoga mat and start calming!
Article Submitted By Community Writer