Within a yoga practice, there are many different benefits, but also several reasons for doing it.
Of course it is great to get nice and sweaty, to get moving, active and warm up the body in your practice, but it is equally as important to do the opposite — to create some stillness, quiet and peace within the body.
Yoga and breathing
Life is full of movement and noise.
From the radio, to the dog barking, to the family chatter to the TV, from eating to working to driving to working out, we rarely stop moving, making noise or being surrounded by noise. It is vital to take some time each day for some stillness and quiet, some time with yourself.
Doing so can be surprisingly beneficial and enjoyable as it’s a rarity in our hectic everyday lives.
A great way to practice stillness is to regard the breath.
Take some time each day to sit quietly and notice your breath. This doesn’t necessarily mean changing the breath at first, but just becoming aware of your breathing patterns, noticing your inhales and exhales, bringing attention to any habits of breathing you harbour, and your natural rhythms.
Over time, as this awareness becomes easier and more natural we can slowly begin to deepen the breath, start to slow down the exhales and inhales and notice how the breath can affect the body and in particular, the state of mind.
Yoga for stillness and balance
As we start to conjure up this stillness and quiet, we can fill our heart with gratitude.
We often find ourselves so busy and full with to-do lists, fretting about the future, dwelling on the past, that it is easy to forget about appreciating the beauty of the now, and the power of living in the present.
Take some time to give thanks that you can sit here, at peace, in silence with yourself.
Ask yourself how often do you do this? How often do you give thanks to others and the world around you, and perhaps more crucially: to yourself?
So, take some time today to turn your awareness inwards.
Just for a few moments, forget about the world around you, block out the noise and the chaos of everyday life and bring your attention inwards. See what is hiding underneath all the noise and movement; find your place, your rhythm and your breath.
Feel great, and feel at peace in your stillness.