Yoga And The Mind Body Connection
Posted On March 10, 2020
Yoga is a workout for both your body AND mind. By understanding the connection between the two a little better, we can enhance out yoga practice and make the most of it physically and mentally.
In this post, I’ll walk you through the mind-body connection in yoga, and hopefully by the end, you’ll have a great understanding of this concept.
I also hope you’ll be able to be mindful of the mind-body connection when you next practice, and I hope this will make your yoga practice feel deeper and more restorative on a spiritually level.
What is a mind-body connection?
A mind-body connection is just based on the concept that the mind influences the body. And vice versa. I’m sure this is a concept you will have heard of before. I always think of bodybuilders. I know that when bodybuilders train, they always focus on the mind-muscle connection. This leads to a better workout, and greater rewards for their workouts.
Well, this is the same for yoga. Or any other workout for that matter.
Our minds are incredibly powerful and have the power to influence and change certain things that we do. This is why it’s so important that we are using our minds in the right ways to get what we want out of life. These following techniques can be practiced in or out of a yoga practice:
Accept where you are right now. Accept what your body looks like, accept what your body feels like. Try to remember that you are whole and perfect just as you are.
Stress only comes when we fail to accept our current circumstances. Something doesn’t go our way and we feel that it should be different, it should have worked out exactly the way we wanted – all the time. When you think about it, it sounds a little silly. Of course things won’t always go our way. This is part of life.
But we can make this an easier and less stressful part of life purely by accepting this fact. Think back to something that didn’t go your way at some point, did it all work out for the best?
For example, there was a time when I really wanted a certain job. I worked really hard to prepare for my interview, however on the day I didn’t perform my best and hence I didn’t get the job. What I did get was a different job which was actually perfect for where I needed to be at that moment in time. This job gave me so many more skills and experience that I needed for my future career and every time I think about it, I feel so grateful for not getting the first job.
Hindsight is great, but I know at the time I was devastated. I wonder how much easier I could have made the process for myself if I had simply accepted it as it needed to be at the time.
One affirmation I like to use when I feel a bit uneasy or out of control it ‘I am always on the right path’.
This is something that can be incredibly calming and beneficial. When thinking about how we can use visualisation for yoga, sometimes when I’m practicing yoga, I like to imagine a bright white light inside of my body.
As I’m moving through and breathing through poses, the light gets bolder and helps guide me though anything that feels a little difficult. You can try this to.
Before your yoga practice begins, do a quick body scan. Notice anything within your body that doesn’t feel quite right, or feels a little uncomfortable.
Slowly breathe into this area, focusing all your mental energy on the area. As you breathe in, visualise a bright white light entering the area of your body, and spreading further out with each breath you take.
Simply keep this light in mind as you begin your yoga practice. If your mind starts to get distracted and forgets about this (which it will to start off with), then simply bring your attention back to the breath, and back to the light.
Thinking about our mind-body connection, do we think it’s possible that by changing the things we tell ourselves, we can actually influence how the body behaves and what it chooses to do? Of course!
You can start today by using these health conscious affirmations:
- My body is always working for my greater good
- My body is healthy and strong
- I feel energised on a daily basis
- I eat nourishing foods that help me feel my best
How does the body influence the mind?
Tony Robbins teaches that the most effective way to change your mental state is to change your physical state. Try this: next time you are feeling low/sad/anxious, immediately stand up tall and smile.
Now, this may feel a bit silly to begin with, especially if you’re feeling like all you want to do is slouch and keep binging Netflix shows (we’ve all been there). However, the question to ask yourself is – how do I want this day to go from this moment? Do I want to continue feeling like this?
If you do want to change your mental or emotional state, we’re extremely fortunate that we know scientifically we can actually alter our emotional state through our physical state.
And when we think about it, it makes sense! When you imagine someone who feels depressed and low, what do they look like? They usually look towards the ground and are slouching. Think about someone who looks and feels confident and happy – how do they walk?
Now try that! Stand up tall, smile, make eye contact. The subconscious mind does not like dissonance. And by acting ‘as if’ you tell your subconscious mind that is who you really are. The mind then looks out for things to affirm this new belief of yours, hence reinforcing your new way of being.
You can try this next time you have a scary meeting or presentation! If it works, then great. If it doesn’t, then you’ve lost nothing in the process of trying.
The power of the mind and body together
Even writing this I found myself in awe of how much the mind and body interact, and the real power comes when we use them both consciously to our advantage.
Knowledge is power. You now have the knowledge – what will you choose to do with it?
All the best