Meeting Life With Mindful Breath
The most important practices are the ones that connect us with ourselves. This is why yoga and meditation are such vital components of our Escape Haven Bali Yoga Retreats. Dedicating yourself to these simple practices can help you to arrive fully and meet life as your best self each day.
People often talk about connecting to ‘the flow’ but this term can mean many things. To us, it means tapping into a sense of peace and ease as we go about our daily tasks. Sometimes busy-ness can’t be avoided, but each task can be completed with grace if we bring the right energy to it.
1. Yoga restores your energy and resilience
It’s no secret that yoga gets your blood flowing. You’ve probably experienced a sense of alertness that stayed with you all day after a particularly energising practice. Yoga has been proven to help increase your body’s circulation, meaning more oxygen and nutrients to all of your organs. On a cellular level, yoga is helping your organs to do their job like star employees. It also boosts the amount of haemoglobin and red blood cells in your system, these are responsible for carrying life enhancing oxygen right throughout your body.
So if you’ve been feeling sluggish and unable to connect to the flow of life it could be due to poor circulation. We recommend you try some twisting poses, which are known for their ability to increase blood flow to stagnant areas. Certain inverted poses also encourage blood which could be pooled in the lower extremities of the body to move towards the heart before making its way around the body. Freshly oxygenated blood flow to your brain might be just what you need to re-connect to the flow of life.
2. Yoga reduces physiological symptoms of stress
We all experience periods of stress throughout our busy, fast-paced lives, and unfortunately, we are all familiar with its negative effects. Stress leaves us tired, anxious and can actually make us quite sick. Oftentimes when we are stressed, we are moving against the flow of life instead of with it. Our nervous systems are firing, our breathing is shallow, and we are allowing our monkey minds to take ahold of us. Cue yoga and meditation.
Pranayama or the deep breathing practices that are common to yoga allow us to expand our diaphragm and breathe deeply. Breathwork is renowned for slowing down an overactive nervous system and reducing stress levels. It’s safe to say we all have experienced a feeling of wellbeing and calm after a few deep breaths. Practicing this type of deep breathing along with peaceful poses like Warrior One can really help us to feel grounded, less stressed and more connected to the flow of life. This is a favourite at our Bali Health Retreat.
Stress is usually caused by a flood of negative thoughts and worries. Whether real or imagined, these thoughts can control and flatten us out if they aren’t managed. Oftentimes we don’t even realise the nature of our inner monologue, or just how many thoughts are firing off at once. This is when meditation becomes so useful.
3. Observe your mind state with meditation
While yoga works in the body, meditation works in the mind. Meditation allows us to listen to our inner stream of consciousness, and it teaches us to practice detached observation. By observing our thoughts objectively, we are more likely to recognise which thoughts are originating from reality and which are borne out of fear.
The act of observing rather than feeding into a spiral of fear-based thinking can do wonders for mental clarity as it helps you recognise that your thoughts aren’t your reality and realise that it’s possible to detach from them for a different outcome. The next time you’re feeling anxious or stressed, take 20 minutes to meditate in a quiet space and you’re likely to find yourself feeling more able to detach from the monkey mind and reconnect with the flow of life.
4. Flowing through life on and off the mat
Flowing is all about moving seamlessly from one thing to the next. It means being in the present moment and allowing the ebb and flow of the universe to guide you effortlessly. When we practice yoga, we are knowingly or unknowingly practising moving from one state to the next. Just as in life, in yoga we experience periods of discomfort, difficulty and that little voice in our head that tells us we can’t go on.
Yoga teaches us to meet these thoughts with inner strength and resilience. It also helps us to realise that every thought and feeling will pass. As we move from our most challenging practice points to the more comfortable and restorative positions like child’s pose, we can see evidence of these feelings passing. In this way, yoga draws many parallels to the flow of life, and it teaches us how to meet each of these highs and lows with grace, determination and a mindful breath. Yoga both encourages flow and helps us to develop love and acceptance for the ever-changing nature of life.
5. The joys of a combination practice
Meditation is the perfect partner for yoga with both practices doing wonders for both the mind and the body. Meditation is synonymous with a state of flow. Observing the flow of your thoughts allows you to understand yourself more deeply. When we come to know ourselves better, we feel safer, more fulfilled, and experience an increased sense of joy.
Practicing meditation also allows us to reconnect with reality. When we meditate, we and are able to see things for what they are and shed some of those imagined fearful beliefs. Meditation, therefore, allows us to align our conscious and unconscious mind. When we let go of those fear based self-limiting beliefs and negative thoughts, we are allowing ourselves to re-enter the vein of the universe and achieve a connection with both our highest self and the flow of life.
At Escape Haven Bali Retreats, we recognise that life never flows in a linear, upward trajectory, but we are willing to use the lessons that yoga and meditation give us to ride the peaks and troughs along the way. If you’re interested in connecting with a sense of flow in your life, consider joining us for a yoga retreat on the beautiful island of Bali. You can find out more about that here. In the meantime go in peace with the knowledge that you’re exactly where you’re meant to be right now.