From the moment we wake up to the minute we fall asleep, the world demands our attention. Text messages, emails, and phone calls can’t go unanswered. Families need to be fed, chores need to be done, work needs to be finished. Multitasking is crowned as a desirable skill.
With all these distractions, it’s no surprise that slowing down is one of the hardest things to do. While we can’t completely erase our to-do list and responsibilities, we can make room for more mindfulness and slow movement in our daily life. Cue Mind Body Yoga.
What is Mind Body Yoga?
Most yoga styles involve a mindful and meditative aspect, but Mind Body Yoga makes it the heart of the practice. While power yoga gets the heart pumping, Mind Body Yoga places a special focus on mindful breathing, safe alignment and transitions, deep stretching, and stress relief.
It might be easy to dismiss slower or gentler styles as a “beginner’s class,” but Mind Body Yoga is for everyone. Those who are new to yoga find this style to be approachable with more accessible postures and pacing. Athletes and more experienced yogis appreciate the balance it creates in their usually fast-paced routines. People who seek healing from anxiety or trauma find comfort in a slower, more restorative environment.
How to Slow Down Your Practice
Whether you’re taking a studio class or practicing at home, there are several ways to enrich and balance your practice with Mind Body Yoga.
1. Choose the right class.
Look for classes aimed at beginners, or those that have descriptions that include gentle, hatha, all-levels, or slow flow. Desert Air Yoga specifically offers a Mind Body Yoga class that emphasizes mindful and meditative movement.
2. Create the right environment.
If you’re practicing at home, set the mood with your favorite essential oils, candles, or lighting. Choose slower music, music with no words, or even no music at all…your breath can be its own beat. Choose comfy clothes that allow you to move freely without distraction.
3. Take your time in each pose and transition.
We’re told to “set intentions” and “be mindful of your breath,” but how often do you stick to that guide? Slower yoga classes offer the space and time for you to link each movement with your breath and savor the feeling of each pose. Notice what parts of your body touch the earth and what is expanding and releasing. Notice how your breath drives each movement, gives you energy, and relaxes your body. If you’re familiar with the yoga postures, try closing your eyes for a different challenge and experience.
4. Know that it’s not always easy.
Some days feel better than others. You’re fully immersed in the practice, relaxed, and balanced. Other days might be harder, depending on what’s going on in your life. All that matters is that you showed up and are taking the time to care for yourself. When times feel tough, try to identify what you’re feeling and find the source of those emotions. In a slower class, there is often more time and silence to sit with your thoughts and work through your feelings. Slowing down your body paves the way for slowing down the pace of your thoughts, which can reduce stress, promote relaxation, and feel liberating at the end of your practice.
You often hear about taking your yoga out into the world, but it’s hard to envision what that looks like (aside from doing sun salutations in the produce aisle). We do so many things without thinking about why we’re doing what we’re doing. But when you slow down and move with intention, it becomes second nature. That intentional perspective shifts from a “yoga-class thing” to a “real-life thing” to make your experiences even more rewarding.
Be sure to check out Katie Williams on instagram for inspiration about yoga, meditation, and photography!