Are you feeling stress and tension showing up on a daily basis? What would feeling calmer mean in your body, mind, and life? Yoga and meditation are both famous for being able to reduce stress and to promote relaxation. In many traditions, Yoga is referred to as a way of focusing your attention on the moment and focusing the attention within the moment to the objects of your attention. Yoga emphasizes meditative awareness, awareness between the body and the mind, but also awareness between the body and thoughts and feelings.
Meditation is a form of focused attention, focusing on the sensations of the body and the breath, instead of focusing all your attention on the external world. In order to get the most benefit, you should start with a practice that lets you focus on the sensations of the body and the breath as they arise.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of Yoga and meditation, and why they can lead to a state of heightened mindfulness and a deep sense of calm in your body, mind, and life.
How to be calmer in your body
I feel like I would be in a straight jacket or prison if it weren’t for Yoga. I still fly off the handle and get reactionary on occasion but it happens less and less frequently thanks to my practice. When I’m triggered by something and feel that “fight or flight” sensation (or like a wild beast about to go in for the kill), I immediately pause and focus on my breath – slow, full, and steady. Within a few breaths, I feel my shoulders lower, my neck relax, and my jaw release.
Here’s the funny thing about the physical practice of Yoga and stress – yoga works to calm the body NOT because the poses are relaxing, but because they are stressful. Our attempts to remain calm and breathe through periods of discomfort, be it a deep twisting yoga pose or a juicy back-bending asana, create Yoga’s most significant neurological benefit.
How to be calmer in your mind
Yoga provides my best state of mind. My experience of feeling calmer after a yoga class is not fully comprehended until I don’t practice. When I practice consistently, my mind is lighter, I am softer, happier, and nothing is too urgent. When I don’t practice, I become more reactive, overwhelmed, and less willing to give my time and energy to loved ones. My husband noticed these differences early on in my yoga journey. Subsequently, he purchased my first membership.
Yoga has long been associated with an elevated mood and an enhanced sense of well-being. As we learned from Ted, the practice is helpful in recognizing and managing stress. Practiced consistently over time, the process of acknowledging and diffusing tension becomes easier (almost habitual). When the mind is calm and at ease, we are naturally happier, more receptive, and prepared for the occasional curveball.
How to be calmer in your life
The awareness of my “on the mat” yoga practice eventually followed me off my mat and into the rest of my life. Just as I experience stress or sensation on the mat rise and fall, I’ve noticed the same patterns in emotions of everyday life. Knowing that physical sensation eventually subsides reassured me that emotions will do the same. Now when I feel the tinges of stress or sadness, I can recollect a lesson from my practice – things eventually hit a tipping point, and I will come out on the other side.
Through a consistent yoga practice, I was able to identify the rhythm by which my body and mind respond to adversity. I also realized that most discomforts was temporary. It’s easy to feel calmer when we are confident, and that is exactly where I am today. From body to mind to life my yoga practice has come full circle.