What is Mindfulness & What are the Benefits?
Mindfulness is a scientifically-proven method of dealing with stress and bringing about a state of calm. Since stress can affect anyone, it’s helpful that Mindfulness is something everyone can ‘do’, regardless of their shape, size, colour, age…
Classes which incorporate an element of Mindfulness, like the Mindfulness Yoga classes for adults at the Breeze Pilates & Yoga POP UP CLASSES on the Gold Coast, help us train ourselves to find peace, even when the going gets tough – to respond skilfully, whether what we experience is ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
Under the guidance of a qualified and experienced teacher, participants learn how to engage all the senses to become fully aware of what’s happening inside and around them – but, crucially, without reacting impulsively! Some people describe this peaceful state of being as a kind of ‘coming home’.
It’s not difficult to see how the Mindfulness skills taught in our Mindfulness Yoga classes here on the Gold Coast, can be a useful tool in day-to-day life. Whether it’s the child who comes downstairs to tell you she can’t sleep just as you settle down for your favourite TV show on a Friday night, or the man at work whose sneers normally vex you, you have the ability to respond in a way that won’t cause you or them any distress.
Need to reduce your stress levels? BOOK a place in the next Mindfulness Yoga workshop at Breeze Pilates and Yoga
Is Mindfulness a religious practice?
In our increasingly secular society, many people are wary of religion and anything that sounds like it. And those who do have a faith of their own often don’t want to get involved with other belief systems.
The good news (if you’ll excuse the pun!) is that Mindfulness as it’s known and taught nowadays is not a religious practice, even though it is said to have originated in the Buddhist tradition two and a half thousand years ago.
However, it is still used for much the same reason as Buddhists use meditation; to avoid and relieve unnecessary suffering, pain and unhappiness. In this way, we become more compassionate – towards ourselves and others.
So yes, you will find something very similar to Mindfulness in a monastery or temple, but you’ll also find people practising Mindfulness – either in training or in action! – in hospitals, schools, workplaces, sports clubs… And, of course, here at Breeze Pilates and Yoga in Mudgeeraba! You’ll also find people from all sorts of faith backgrounds doing it, too – the only difference being that the peaceful place we called ‘home’ earlier is known to them as their God.
The benefits of a Mindful Yoga practice
Meditation (out of which grew the secular practice of Mindfulness, in the 1970s) may have gained popularity amongst Buddhists walking the earth over two thousand years ago, but it’s only in recent decades that science has caught up. Now, we have evidence that a regular, consistent Mindfulness practice holds many significant benefits;
Reduces anxiety and stress
Promotes recovery from depression
Enhances the performance of the immune system
Although stress can actually be helpful, particularly in short term ‘fight or flight’ situations (which trigger physiological responses, like a quicker heartbeat, to get blood pumped into your muscles), it can be problematic when it accumulates – which can easily happen…
In Western society, many of us tend to deal with stress in ways that are not helpful; we tend to ‘soldier on’, and many people use caffeine, drugs, alcohol and food as ways of coping, or of ignoring the sources of their stress. But prolonged stress can make a person vulnerable to depression or ‘burn out’, which can then impact on their physical health, work performance and relationships – creating more stress in the process!
The Mindfulness Yoga classes with Breeze Pilates and Yoga will give you the tools to identify and deal with stress without doing your body any harm. Over time, you will:
Become able to recognize stress symptoms in your body
Increase your awareness of stress ‘triggers’
Catch stress-creating thoughts before they catch you
Importantly, our Mindfulness Yoga classes will also give you the tools and techniques you need to bring more peace, calm and balance into your life, instead. You might also experience various other benefits, through adopting a regular Mindfulness Yoga practice, such as:
A sense of clarity, which aids learning, decision-making, creativity and productivity
Enhanced overall wellbeing and a positive outlook
A deeper sense of connection to others, which enhances your ability to communicate, and encourages you to establish healthy relationships
More frequent moments of appreciating and enjoying the wonder of life!
How do you ‘do’ Mindfulness?
With Breeze Pilate and Yoga Mindfulness Yoga classes, we use Mindfulness techniques which involve focusing your attention on the sensations of the present moment. To begin with, we concentrate on the physical sensations of the body and the breath. Over time, students develop the ability to observe their thoughts and emotions in the same way; without making judgements or reacting, just sensing and accepting.
As the mind settles into the moment, thoughts become just one sensation amongst others that come and go, like trains pulling into and out of a railway station. We fall into a space – a comfy bench on the station platform, you could say – where the body and mind ‘let go’ and relax, allowing all those trains to just pass on by. The more we practice returning to this space, the more at ‘home’ we feel with ourselves.
Inevitably, just as our old stress reactions pervaded our whole lives – negatively affecting everything from our health to our relationships – this new awareness and sense of calm begins to influence our day-to-day actions and lives in a positive way.
How is Mindfulness Yoga practiced?
The Gold Coast Mindfulness Yoga classes do exactly what they say on the tin: they offer a perfect combination of gentle yoga postures, breathing techniques and Mindfulness! Mindfulness can be practiced in many ways, after all: with eyes open or closed, walking, sitting still, running, exercising and while ‘doing’ day to day actions.
Practising Mindfulness alongside gentle yogic movement and breathing is a particularly helpful method of developing your awareness, especially for people who are new to Mindfulness, and those who naturally need some movement to relax or sit still.
Even with the addition of yoga postures and breathing techniques, however, Mindfulness is no ‘quick fix’. Yes, you will experience immediate benefits of feeling calm and relaxed, but it takes a regular, consistent practice for Mindfulness to deliver its promise of a happier, less stressful life.