Every day is a different day. After practicing yoga for over 6 years, one thing that I’ve learned is to have intention in your actions and thoughts. Each new day is an opportunity for us to start with an intention and purpose that will permeate throughout the day. Here are three ways you can use yoga to be more mindful and purposeful in your life.
#1 Visualize Your Day
Start your day with mindfulness and meditation. Before you get out of bed, take a few minutes to visualize how your morning will look. Prior to leaving the home to head to work or to run errands, try to see how you want that to look. Will you need to make coffee? Freshen up in the restroom? Get dressed? What will you wear? Do you have to walk the dog? Vividly think about how you’re going to start to your morning and then begin your day. If it does not line up, that is OK. Try it again the next day until your mind is aligned with your actions. This quick meditation and mindfulness exercise will allow you to move with intention as you go about your day. Feel free to use it throughout the day (i.e. visualizing how your workday will look, and what your preparing for bed process may look like).
#2 Start with Pranayama
Breath is our life source. It’s important to reconnect with breath on a regular basis, either through yoga or meditation. The practice of pranayama allows us to connect to that life source that flows through us whether we want it to or not. A pranayama technique that I love to use is breath counting.
How to Count Your Breath:
- Sit in a comfortable seat in a chair or on the ground on blocks or a meditation cushion.
- Place your hands on your knees or find dhyana (concentration) mudra.
- Close your eyes and take your drishti or focus point inwards.
- Take three deep breaths and sigh audibly to exhale them out.
- After the last breath, take a pause and then begin to slowly inhale as you count up to 4.
- Pause at the top of your inhale and then count down from 4.
- Repeat by counting up and then counting down one more time.
- On the next two rounds, count up to 6, then to 8, then to 10.
- Once you’ve completed your last two rounds of counting up to 10, stay in your seat and breathe normally.
#3 Move Your Body
This last tip is what most people think of yoga, as a way of moving your body. While it is important, the yoga poses, or asanas, or only a fraction of what yoga truly is. Yoga is the connection of mind, body, and the present moment. I recommend doing 8 cat and cows, 3-5 sun salutations, and then a child’s pose (balasana) to start your day. Do this every day and reflect on how it makes your body feel. Listen to it, and modify if you need to.
Guest Contributor Profile: Alex Tran AKA Schimiggy is a Digital Marketing Strategist, fitness fashion, travel, and food-obsessed raconteuse. She currently resides in Seattle and teaches yoga while writing about her favorite topics. Schimiggy Reviews is a lifestyle blog where Schimiggy shares her passions and interests with the world!