Cultivating Mindfulness through Yoga & Qigong practice

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By Donna Abbate

Nutritionist, Naturopath, Yoga, Pilates, Exercise Science

Both Yoga and qigong take us on an inward journey with the aim to integrate from our periphery, the body, and progress through the mind and intelligence into the centre of our being, with the intention of becoming whole through self-realization.

Most of us think of our body as only the physical form our skin, bones, muscles, and internal organs, however the study of yoga & other practices such as qigong give us the experience of delving into the body and we realise very quickly that this is only the outermost layer and we have more layers like an onion nested within the other.  These layers include the energy body, mental body, the intellectual body, and our soul body.

The yoga and qigong experience enables us to bring alignment to each of these layers so unity, depth and balance is established. So these modalities are definitely not stretch class’s, instead they align us to an attitude to look deeper within ourselves to discover the real meaning of stability, strength, connection and flexibility and all of this internal observation requires the delicate art of mindfulness.

As we begin to understand ourselves, by being mindful on how we move, how we breathe, what sensations are arising and passing, what we are thinking, feeling and how we are emotionally responding, we get clear of who and what we are in the present moment based on how we respond.  We begin to measure, manage and monitor ourselves and from observing this feedback with a curious, non-judgemental state of mind over time we train our brains through neuroplasticity to become more like this off the mat, and we begin to naturally become mindful of our interactions in relationships, and the world around us.

When we practice mindfulness in the present, everything begins to shows up. We take more responsibility for our actions, and see the work that needs to be done within ourselves.  We begin to be humbled by what it takes to be human.  And how what we experience within ourselves is often experienced in all humans.  This helps us to take responsibility, to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving towards not just our own suffering but the suffering of others.

This mindfulness state of mind, brings equanimity.  To have enough awareness through multiple levels of perception that your brain learns to respond to its environment whether it be internal or external from a place of truth and clarity.

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