Mindfulness, meditation and yoga are ancient practices which are a great antidote for the overwhelm of our 21st century lifestyles.
Mindfulness is about learning to focus on the present moment, using all of our senses to notice where we are and how we are feeling.
For example, we might be sitting out in the garden, where we consciously register:
the feeling of the sun on our skin;
the scent of the flowers or herbs planted nearby;
the sound of insects buzzing, children playing, or traffic droning in the distance;
what we can see – the blue sky, the green grass, the colourful flowers.
Meditation is closely linked; it’s about pausing in the moment. Rather than clearing our mind of all thoughts – that’s simply not possible! - we focus on just one thing – for example, our breath.
Research has shown that practicing mindfulness and meditation regularly helps reduce symptoms like stress, anxiety and depression1. Could this be because stress and overwhelm tend to develop when we spend too much time dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future?
There is much wisdom in the old saying: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the ‘present’”.
Yoga (as well as tai chi and qi gong) is much more than just a form of physical exercise, based around a series of poses which strengthen our body, build our core, and improve our balance. Yoga incorporates elements of mindfulness and meditation.
As such, it is a great way to unite your body, mind and soul, which can all too easily become disconnected due to our stressful and busy days.
Yoga, mindfulness and meditation have been shown to help with:
mood and emotional regulation;
You’re never too young (or too old!) to give yoga a go.
The good news is, there is a type of yoga to suit all ages and ability levels, from mums and bubs groups through to gentle restorative yoga for seniors, and more demanding styles such as vinyasa yoga.
Yoga studios also frequently offer meditation and other sessions designed to promote overall wellbeing.
Isn’t it time you checked out your local yoga studio to see what’s on offer?!