In the end, the longest and most important relationship any of us will ever have is with ourselves. Seeking ways to prioritize your health is crucial and even more important now. We lead increasingly busy lives and it can be easy to put yourself on the back burner. The saying is old, but rings true now than ever before: “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” When you look after yourself, the better you will feel, and the better you will be in all areas of your life. When you continuously fill your cup up, your cup will naturally overflow onto others around you and other key areas of your life, bringing more love, grace, and compassion into your life and around the world.
What better way to fill your cup back up than by beginning your day in a mindful way? Get your body moving, but equally taking the time to be quiet and still. A powerful way to do this is with a yoga practice, which can have profound effects on your mind, body, and soul. Starting your day off with healthy choices, like yoga, will get your blood moving and your mind more aware, which will help you feel your best.
As you connect with the body through yoga, you can connect to your senses. When you connect with your senses, you begin to wake up, literally and figuratively. Yoga is a profound discipline to support the body in becoming the most finely tuned and effective vehicle in which to experience what it is to be an awakened human being and achieve your greatest potential.
Releasing Energy Blocks Through a Yoga Flow
The building blocks of yoga include asanas, sometimes referred to as poses or postures, each of which enhance your strength, mobility, and breathing quality, particularly as you connect the asanas to create a flow. As you move through a flow and hold these different asanas, you transfer focus and attention to the body and breath. This not only helps to relieve physical tension, but also allows you to calm yourself down, especially before a busy day ahead.
Yoga asanas are effective for lubricating the major joint areas in the body, as well as for stretching, strengthening, and toning the major muscle groups so that your movement can be more fluid and stable. These asanas integrated through a yoga flow can generate powerful feelings. They were created to help you move through and release any energy blocks in your mind and body, places where stress or life experience has caused you to potentially tense up and armor yourself.
We Are Always Present, But the Question Is How?
In the yoga practice, pranayama or breathwork, in addition to asanas, is used to take your awareness into the realms within the space of your own body, mind, and spirit. Breathwork is an incredible tool to help soothe your way into a new day, by training you in letting go. Nothing is permanent—including your breath. Your breath is always changing; it’s always flowing, same with your thoughts. You can observe through your breath that your thoughts are coming and going as well. There are not there to stay. By focusing more on your breath, you can develop your mind, training it to be able to stay present to the impermanence of life. This can help you to feel more relaxed, more centered, more patient, and more compassionate going into your day.
However, now more than ever there are so many distractions throughout the day that too often pull our focus from the present moment. Fortunately, the breathing aspect of yoga helps to strengthen your mind, improving overall concentration and focus, in order to tackle these distractions and create a sense of mindfulness that permeates your entire body.
Keeping the Flow Alive Throughout the Day
Remember, you are the ultimate priority. Move your body, relax your mind, and continue to be empowered to feel your best. Dedicating yourself to the practice of yoga can extend to all areas beyond your mat. Yoga is a means of filling your cup back up, with self-care and self-love, with energizing the body, with calming the mind, and giving you the strength to take on your day. We all need to remember to take the time to unwind, to nourish ourselves, and to experience gratitude for the present moment that we are gifted with.
In the yoga tradition, the mind is said to begin in the heart. By dropping into the mind of your heart, you can move through your yoga flow with intent and utter clarity. From there, you can move into a still place where nothing else exists, possibly catching a glimpse of what true inner peace feels like.
About the Author
You can find Katie teaching at Yoga Among Friends:
Vinyasa Flow Mondays 8–9 am
Fridays 7–8 am.
Katie Sayad discovered yoga in her early teenage years. With a background in dance, she was initially drawn to yoga for its discipline, movement, and overall grace. She grew more in love with the art of yoga through the years not only because she saw the physical benefits, but also because she realized how yoga had a profound impact on her emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. Yoga has gracefully grown into becoming a vital source of bringing more consciousness and compassion to Katie’s way of being.
She has studied, and continues to study from, various styles of yoga from yoga masters and teachers through the years. As a result, she has absorbed in the wisdom and art of these different approaches to yoga and has blended it into her own unique vinyasa flow style. Katie earned her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certification from Yogaview in Wilmette, IL. She continues yoga as both a student and a teacher, where her love for the practice grows with each time on the mat.
Katie is also a certified Holistic Health & Wellness Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Her mission is to continue to help improve the overall well-being of others by cleansing the body and mind for a powerful reset through nutrition and lifestyle changes. This approach is to help those uncover their healthiest, most authentic selves and propel them forward on a more clutter-free, conscious, and compassionate path. Katie shares and brings this light to others on (and off!) the mat.
You can learn more about Katie and her work at www.katiesayad.com.