Here is a wee sample exercise from my first yoga class at Out of the Blue!
I often find when I arrive to a yoga class my mind is full of things that have been going on previously or that I am looking forward to, especially on a Friday when the working week is over and the weekend is stretching out ahead. This exercise helps to center on how you are feeling right now in order to focus on the practice of yoga.
Start from a comfortable sitting position, kneeling, cross legs, half lotus, lotus!... Check your spine is is long and you are relaxed and gently close your eyes to bring your attention inwards. Notice your contact with the floor and feel the weight of your body being held and supported. Traveling from the base of your posture throughout your body, upwards each part of the body in resting comfortably in alignment. Now bring your attention to your breath. Observe how your breath is moving in your body right now, the in breath, out breath and pauses in between. Pay attention to where your breath travels to in your body. Follow the breath in the body without changing or judging it, it may help to repeat 'in' and 'out' on the breaths to keep your mind from busying itself with something else. If you are distracted just notice this has happened and bring yourself back to the practice of effortless breathing. Enjoy for a few minutes and open the eyes on the next in breath.
Now see how much more centered on your practice and able to concentrate you are to continue with your Yoga practice!
You can also try this exercise on its own. It is particularly helpful if you are feeling worried or stress out in order to calm down and see things more clearly. Its a great one to do at the start of your day or before you go to bed. Please have a go and let me know how you get on!
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Kristina is a Yoga teacher and artist who lives in Braunton, North Devon with her husband, two children and a cat.