We have a tendency to live our lives in ‘default’ mode where habits drive our daily behaviour and we consistently react to things or make decisions whilst we’re in ‘autopilot’ mode. Yoga teaches us how to be mindful of the present, our bodies and our minds in each and every moment. This transcends outside of the studio and into daily life as decisions and thoughts become clearer with increased awareness.
We generally tend to set goals because we want something in our lives to change for the better or because we want to achieve something that is currently outside of the ‘norm’ of our current lives. If we have been acting and thinking on ‘autopilot’ or behaved or reacted habitually in a certain way for years, months or even decades it’s probably going to be very tricky to achieve a new goal with no other strategy than to just have ‘will power’.
So how can yoga help? Within an asana class (the physical, class part of yoga) we are constantly aware of our physical bodies and our breath which in turn brings a new sense of value and respect towards the physical self. Within meditation, we become mindfully aware of our thoughts and become able to see our thought patterns almost as an outside observer. We begin to learn that surprisingly we might be our own biggest obstacle (not anything or anyone else) and that we are getting in our own way, simply because we aren’t in tune with our own thought patterns.
The practice of being mindfully aware can be taken from the studio and applied to every moment of every day. For example we may start to make more mindful decisions whilst at the supermarket instead of habitually picking the same things we always do and thus make better food choices, or it may be that we become more mindful in how we react to a certain problem such as mindfully remaining calm, positive and solution-based as opposed to habitually becoming angry or feeling hopeless when problems arise. Decisions made mindfully lead to better choices and better choices push you towards what it is you are striving for.