Developing Mindfulness On & Off Your Mat

by Juan Villegas, E-RYT® 500

Connections in Yoga

There is a moment in a yoga practice when I awaken my body after savasana, sit up, open my eyes and enjoy the blissful connections between body and mind and the sense of peace this connection brings. I’ve heard this referred to as “yoga glow” and you can see it on the faces of others as they leave class, a gentle smile and relaxed eyes. A full mind-body connection achieved through the mindful movement of breath and body. I believe it is this feeling that keeps us coming back to our mats, in our hectic lives we need as much of this connection as we can find! For 60 minutes the mind has focus, the breath is full and you can’t worry about your phone or email, you are connected to yourself instead of devices.

The greater task we face as yoginis and yogis is how to find these connections off the mat, to not become reliant on asana practice to be connected to ourselves, but to use the tools we develop in class to further enhance our lives and allow us to live fully connected.

Last year when I visited home, I decided to spend an afternoon picnicking with my nieces and nephews, living so far away from them it was important for me to have a connection with them. Our little picnic ended up being a 4 hour adventure of running and playing. Not once did I check my phone, and when my mind started to worry and rush to thoughts of work the energy and activity of those little children snapped me back to the present moment. We ran, played in nature, sat on the grass, talked and developed these connections to each other and ourselves. When I returned home after taking them home I felt that familiar “glow”, a sense of peace just like the end of a yoga class. My time with them had been a complete connection of body and mind. Whether you are having dinner with friends, folding laundry or moving through a vinyasa class, find the connection, be mindful and you will fully appreciate every single moment. As yogis the majority of our yoga happens off the mat our aim is to develop the mind-body connection in class so we can call upon it during the rest of day.

Have you noticed your yoga practice extending off your mat?

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