Week Two: Developing Mental Strength with Yoga

This is the 2nd week of developing mental strength through the practice of Yoga.  Did you try out Warrior One last week?  How did you get on?  Did you make any notes, reflect on the experience?

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This week the pose of the week is Dancer pose or Natarajasana.  This is a lovely balancing pose for encouraging strength, focus , length in the thigh and hip flexor and expansion in the chest swell as moving towards a backbend and creating more mobility in the spine.

Each week try out the pose suggested or even as you practice the pose in a class bring the following activity to mind;

SET UP:

Take the form of Dancer pose (The video above shows a few different variations), if experiencing tightness in the hip flexor or quad, a simple standing balance can be undertaken.  Encouraging strength in the supporting leg, awareness on the breath, length in the spine and engaging the core.  For a more detailed outline of the physicality of this pose, follow here

Choose a length of time to undertake the pose that will inject some stress, unlike last week, both feet are not placed on the mat for balances, so the length of time here will depend on your supporting leg strength, aim for up to one minute and more if you feel able.

1. INTENTION-encourage your intention to keep attention on what your body is doing-breathing, relaxing into the pose, and encouraging proper form.

2. WITNESS- notice when your attention shifts from doing to thinking.  Your mind may create doubts about your ability to continue holding the pose.

3. DELAY- Dont react to the doubts.  Rather, stay in the pose with the stress and delay reacting. This allows space for awareness to develop.

4. DISSOCIATE OR REDIRECT ATTENTION- Coach yourself back to your intention and keep attention on your bodes process.

5. FIND LITTLE WAYS TO ENGAGE-Keep attention engaged in your body by making subtle shifts in posture or transferring weight for one leg to the other.

Throughout this exercise, we are trying to introduce the distraction of stress.  What distracting thoughts did you become aware of? Were you able to create a focus such as looking towards a spot on the wall or listening to a song to escape the stress?  Stress can be a major distraction of our attention in any challenging situation.  By witnessing your minds desire to escape stress, delaying this reaction and redirecting attention to your body, you can learn to process stress and stay committed.

Take notes on your experience, feel free to contact me and let me know how you are getting on and any questions you have.

As you become stronger in your body, become stronger in your mind..........become an active participant in the activities of the mind and use the practice to observe thoughts and with practice cultivate thoughts that are more beneficial to a healthier you and enable a more balanced outlook on life.