Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Mindfulness - slow down

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Flexiladiesyoga by Janet Barnes 
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For the purposes of this series, the definition of mindfulness I will be working with is 'awareness of the present moment'. I thought a good way to start would be to practice slowing down. Our practice of slowing down is very timely because this week we move into autumnn in the northern hemisphere. Autumn is a time when nature starts to slow down and draw in, and if we are in tune with nature so should we.  Our ancestors who worked the land would begin to work less once the harvest was in and as the nights draw in, they would also sleep more. In terms of Ayurveda (please see 'Ayurveda and autumn' - http://flexiladies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/ayurveda-and-autumn.html), autumn is the season when vata dosha is dominant. A vata imbalance can lead to anxiety, constipation, dry skin etc. Our practice of slowing down is perfect to ground us and correct any vata imbalance. 

When we slow down in our yoga practice we can tune into the breath,and the sensations associated with the breathing practices.We can also experience the asanas more fully. We become mindful of the adjustments needed to suit our own needs, for in yoga there is not 'one size fits all'. We notice the progress we are making in poses - maybe we can go a little deeper in a back bend without strain. As we slow down our movements and our breathing, the windows of our minds become clearer and we can release any thoughts and emotions that are no longer serving us.   

Our slow practice on the mat is an antidote to the fast paced world we live in today. We push ourselves to do more resulting in premature aging, tightness in the body, adrenal fatigue and disrupted hormones. We eat while watching television or checking emails and as a result have a tendency to overeat because we are no longer tuned into our bodies telling us we have eaten enough. 
Add to this the stress of competing in this fast paced world and the result is obesity, the modern disease. 

Rest and relaxation are seen as indulgent and we seldom give ourselves permission to do nothing. Ironically, by slowing down we can gain better focus and concentration, become stronger mentally and emotionally and so become more efficient at our tasks.We also become less stressed and less panicked. When stressful situations arise,we can chose to react in a calmer, more considered way. 

I hope you enjoy your practice of slowing down in the following video which also is a grounding practice to balance vata.

Happy autumn days
Janet x 

I also have a wellness blog - '40plusandalliswell'-http://40plusandalliswell.blogspot.co.uk/ if you would like to take a look. 

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