What is yoga?
This is an open-ended question therefore we can only share our perception of what yoga means to us. Yoga takes on various forms and traditions, therefore each of us will have our own interpretation of what yoga is, depending on our personal experiences and teachings of yoga; and where we are on our yoga journey. We believe yoga is a way of life – and through regular and continued practice it can bring feelings of health, well-being and peace.
The word in Sanskrit means ‘union;’ the joining together. We can develop and integrate our body, mind and breathing through our yoga practice. This can help us have feelings of being better connected to our environment and have a positive impact on how we communicate with the world and our relationships, not only with ourselves, but with those around us. Yoga involves moving intelligently in a practice that will allow you time for self-enquiry and discovery. Through a regular yoga practice we begin to develop flexibility, strength, stamina and balance in body and mind. Our body can be used as a gateway to awareness, we can use our body to connect with ourselves. We are all in need of healing in some way and yoga can help us tune into ourselves, we begin to listen and hear our body through feeling and experiencing ourselves. This is not necessarily an easy thing to do, but yoga encourages us to allow ourselves to feel and to accept whatever comes up, without judgement. We then begin to unravel the layers to access the space each and everyone of us has within ourselves, to Be … Naturally.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is being fully aware of what’s here right now, without judging it – and this can give us better ways of dealing with whatever life throws at us.
A wealth of research at the Universities of Oxford and Bangor proves that mindfulness brings about positive changes to our brain, leading to many physical and mental health benefits. Mindfulness helps us to become healthier, happier and more resilient. NICE and the Mental Health Foundation recommend mindfulness for preventing recurrent episodes of depression, anxiety, insomnia and low self esteem – and it also helps people effectively deal with chronic illness and pain.
Mindfulness helps us develop awareness of what is here in this moment – and this awareness gives us choices, which can help us live our everyday life in a calmer, happier, healthier way. For example … when you notice your mind has wandered off unhelpfully, then you can choose to bring it back to where you want it to be. When you notice that you’re on ‘autopilot’, then you can choose to become fully present and experience what – or who – is here with all of your senses. When you notice the ‘red mist’ of anger arising, then you can choose to respond rather than react in old habitual ways.
Mindfulness is proven to offer many benefits … but it’s not a magic wand, or a quick fix. Just like working out at the gym, we need to ‘work out’ the brain regularly to really embed it – then we can use it to enhance daily life in so many different ways. Over time, you will begin to:
- Notice thoughts and emotions – and learn not to get caught up with them
- Choose to respond, not react
- Deal more effectively with the over-busyness and stresses in our lives
- Find focus, calm, clarity and balance
- Increase kindness – to others and also to ourselves
Our inner ‘survival’ mechanism means we so often focus on the negative things and don’t even notice the good stuff. Yet “energy flows where attention goes”- and if we focus on the negative stuff, it makes life even tougher.
Through mindfulness, we can start to notice and appreciate the good things in our lives. Taking in and appreciating the even the smallest good thing can make a really positive difference … it’s a small step, with a huge impact.
We can also bring mindfulness together with self-compassion – and learn to bring caring attention to ourselves, especially when we need it most. Most of us unconditionally offer compassion and kindness to a good friend when they are having a hard time. Mindful Self-Compassion enables us to bring this same caring attention to ourselves, just when we need it most – increasing resilience, self-worth, well-being and happiness.
Mindfulness offers us many new ways to help us thrive – with happiness, positivity, kindness and a sense of purpose. Take a look at our Useful Stuff page for more information.
Why have we at Be … Naturally brought yoga and mindfulness together?
Can we separate them? Are they separate?
What are the increased benefits of bringing them together?
Science proves that physical and mental health and well-being are enhanced through yoga and mindfulness. The functioning of our circulatory, respiratory, digestive and hormonal structures are improved through our practice of yoga and mindfulness. Calmness, resilience, flexibility, compassion and gratitude are increased, allowing us to live a more joyful and passionate life. We can cultivate an open and authentic relationship with ourselves, with others and with the world around us. This can help us to relate to whatever life brings with balance, harmony and peace of mind.
These are just some of the benefits which are possible through our Be … Naturally events.
But don’t take our word for it – see what people who have experienced our events say by checking out our Testimonials page.