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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mindful Practice 12

Cultivating mindfulness is a big part of yoga yet how many of us are integrating mindfulness into our yoga practice?  Besides increasing strength, flexibility, balance, range of motion, lung volume and spiritual well being, yoga can expand our consciousness.

In the truest sense of the word, traditional yoga, as taught by Patanjali Maharashi, has the main goal of reaching samadhi - total freedom from the mechanical mind.  A person who has reached samadhi is fully conscious of his own state of pure clarity at the highest level and the mind becomes a faithful servant.

Yoga, when practiced in the traditional sense, not only employs body exercises but also awareness of the environment, yourself, the breath, the senses, and the ability to focus the mind. Yoga is a good way to practice mindfulness because while you are moving through poses (asanas) and holding poses you can also learn to be aware of your thinking, your breathing, the body's subtle aches and pains, as well as the surroundings (light, temperature, sounds, etc.).  In other words, don't become absorbed.  Allow your consciousness to expand. 

The next time you do yoga see if you can go into a state of awareness without judging yourself and others.  Move through asanas with total mindfulness.  Expand your consciousness.  You may discover a whole new experience.

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