Yoga exercises can bring peace of mind. By the end of the yoga class we usually forget the burning desire or important concern that occupied our mind. Peace pervades both mind and body. Here are a few yoga exercises for peace of mind.
1. Begin with Centering
What is centering? It’s a method which helps to turn the mind inward and works to quiet our busy mind. In kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, a specific mantra is chanted at the beginning of every class and personal practice. In some hatha yoga classes the mantra ‘Om’ is chanted. This opening activity takes only a few minutes and makes a huge positive impact on our state of consciousness and thus prepares us for our yoga practice.
The use of a mantra has a direct effect on the mind, and beginning your personal practice with a chant draws a subtle starting line that adds something special to your experience. How would you describe that inward journey – sacred, soulful or something else? I am always fascinated by the various ways we describe our experience of the same exercise.
2. Chanting during Practice
In our personal practice we can decide to chant ‘Om’ aloud at the beginning of the asana portion of our practice. If you start with the Sun or Moon salutation you can chant either when you are moving into the pose, or slow the practice down by chanting one ‘Om’ as you hold the pose. You may want to explore to find out when it is most natural for you to chant. Do you increase or decrease the chant volume as you practice? Does it feel natural to stop chanting aloud after a while?
3. Hand Mudra
A common hand mudra is holding the hands in prayer position. This mudra, called Namaste mudra, can be held when standing at rest in Tadasana. You can hold the hands at the chest and let the thumbs touch the sternum. Notice how each finger rests against its pair and whether one hand presses more into the other. Can you distribute the pressure evenly between both hands? Are you using excess effort?
Feel your feet to the earth, hands at the heart, and head to the sky. Next sense your whole body as a single unit, then bring the breath into your awareness. This rest between poses can become a standard within your personal practice; an exercise to draw the mind inward.
As a beginner yoga student you can design your personal practice to include the elements that are most effective to quiet the mind. As you experiment with these techniques, may you discover again and again the power of designing your own practice and the ability to quiet your mind.
Heather Greaves is an avid yoga student and the owner of Body Therapies Yoga Training. She organizes yoga and meditation retreats and workshops in Ontario and Barbados, and has been helping yoga enthusiasts learn to teach therapeutic yoga in a certified program. For more yoga tips or to sign up for our monthly newsletter visit http://www.yogatogo.com
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