“Yoga is not about touching the toes. It's about what you learn on the way down.”
A Wise Man
Mindful Hatha Yoga is one of the key practices within the existing body of Mindfulness tools.
What is Yoga?
Yoga, developed thousands of years ago, means ‘to yoke’ in Sanskrit and refers to the union between the mind and body. Yoga poses (or Asanas) are traditionally practiced with the intention of getting the body ready for meditation. For experienced practitioners, holding in yoga poses is meditation in itself. Yoga poses enable the body to become more flexible, increases musculoskeletal strength and quietens the mind. Hatha Yoga emphasizes relaxation between each pose, to bring about balance in the nervous system.
The process of performing the Yoga Poses is itself a mindfulness practice. Paying attention moment to moment to how the body moves, tends to move, sensations that come with it, how the mind is responding to the sensations, helps one to develop understanding of own attitudes and feelings.
Unlike most exercises and aerobic classes and even many yoga classes where the focus is on pushing beyond one’s limits and perfecting poses, Mindful Hatha Yoga focuses on the attitudes of non-striving and approaching in the being mode, rather than the constant doing mode, which potentially sets one off in auto-pilot leading to exhaustion, chronic stress and depression.
Mindful Hatha Yoga goes beyond helping one to reap the physical benefits of stretching and strengthening. It allows one to gain awareness of one's healthy 'stretching zone' by observing and exploring the edges between what the body can do (overcoming avoidance or fear of certain movements) and cannot do (pushing and striving to the point of pain and injury) and work within the body limits at all times. It means paying attention to what the body is telling you, trusting its inner wisdom, so that you are still nourishing your body and not damaging it as you explore the limits. Practicing yoga mindfully in this way enriches the inner experience and takes it far beyond the intended physical benefits.
As one saying goes, “Yoga is not about touching the toes, but what happens on the way down.”
Carmen conducts Mindful Hatha Yoga on weekly basis. Please refer to the Courses page for details.
She also conducts commuity yoga and private Hatha Yoga classes on a regular basis, incorporating mindfulness concepts in her classes from time to time (please refer to her other website www.bewellyoga.sg).