Week Three: Developing Mental Strength with Yoga

This is week 3 of these blog posts looking at developing mental strength on the mat while practicing the posture and then using those mental techniques to cultivate strength in other aspects of your life.  Have you tried any of the poses to date? How did you feel?  If you have read these posts and have not tried the poses, why not?

At most the practice will take 5 minutes depending on the length of time you wish to remain in the pose.  Notice if you feel resistance to undertaking the practice, if you have been practicing, how did you feel afterwards?

This week, whether you have done this to date or not, practice this pose.  Set your phone or alarm for 5 minutes and see what happens!

Wide forward fold.jpg

This week the pose in focus is Wide legged forward bend or Prasarita Padottanasana.  This pose is not as challenging as the previous two in the sense that it is a more releasing and opening pose than strengthening.

Set up the pose......More details on this pose can be found here

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.

We are constantly everyday filled with thoughts and distractions and unknown to ourselves reacting and behaving as a result of these thoughts and distractions.  The practice of yoga is about cultivating more awareness, if there are thoughts there, acknowledge them and let them go.  You are developing the skills to become an active participant in how your mind is working as opposed to being a slave to the ups and downs of the minds patterns.

With conscious awareness, you can release the need to follow distracting thoughts and turn down the volume, allowing for greater awareness of the breath and becoming more immersed in your yoga practice, more immersed in the moment and using that off the mat to lose yourself in the joy of activities or sports, music or art, whatever it may be for you.  Give yourself some time to get lost-thinking less and doing more!

Enjoy!

As always, happy to hear how you are getting on........and if you have read this and still feeling like you are note sure whether to try it or not, take 5 minutes to sit still and observe the breath, its only 5 minutes!