Its 7.15 am, I am awake, sitting at the top of my mat.
My Yoga teacher is beaming and as she brings her palms to the center of her chest, she says pick a word or an intention for today’s practice.
My waking brain, started to exercise, the brain cells is a somersault and I came up with a word; Mindful.
I enjoy my practice so much more when I am mindful of every movement I make, the stretch descends into my being like a slow dollop of ghee, melting from the spoon and sliding down into the simmering port of chicken curry.
Please don’t go eat now, I am not done yet.
Being Mindful relieves my mind from running thoughts, increases and betters my ability to focus and concentrate,but is that all to it, can we take being mindful to a higher level?
And yes, the answer is a resounding yes!
During the course of my Yoga TTC, we have to learn how to breakdown the movements/steps in each posture and instruct the class in a way that they would be able to focus and follow. Aside from imparting the steps to get into the pose, we also had to learn about the muscles and the movements of the muscles.
Now this exercise brought being mindful during practice to a whole new level.
HOW?, HOW TEACHER, HOWWWWWW?!
It is easier than you think, but I am not going to spoon-feed you, we are going to say it, move it and shake it!
Lets experiment this with the Triangle Pose (Tikonasana).
Now come to the top of your mat, place your hands in prayer position at the center of your chest.
Are you ready?, say with me, ‘inhale, raise your right knee up and extend it to about 3 quarters of the mat’.
Now stop and stay there and say ‘exhale’.
Can you feel the muscles in the left side of your right thigh contracting that is the lengthening of your abductor longus, now you know what muscle you are engaging and how is it moving.
Now say, engage my Glutus Maximus, tuck my tailbone in and move my hips just a little forward.
Next say, using the ball and socket of my Scapularis, rotate my arms and extend them to shoulder level, now I feel my biceps, triceps, pectoralis major and minor lengthening and my deltoids anterior muscles shortening while contracting.
Rotate my right foot to the right side and place my left foot hip width distance apart and as I exhale, I am leaning towards the right side as far as I can, after that I lower my right arm to the mat and grab my shin. I can feel my right oblique muscles and brachialis lengthening.
As I turn my neck to look upwards at my thumb, I can feel my Lavator Scapulae muscle shortening and Sternocleidomastoudeus lengthening.
So now, not only have you done an Asana, you know which muscles you have engaged, other than bringing mindful to another level, don’t you feel stronger and ready to brave through the day?