A few months ago I returned to the practice of yoga after a break of some years. Once only an addition to my weekly exercise routine, it has now become a daily practice in its own right and the results I have felt to my mind, body and general state of well-being have been profound.
Searching for ways of re-connecting with myself and feeling centred have been a lifelong journey. Meditation has been a long-time companion of mine and an effective “way in” to calming my mind and reconnecting with myself. However, more recently I decided I wanted to develop a practice that would not only be a way into my being, but also into my body, after all we are embodied beings. Having become increasingly interested in the body-mind connection, especially in relation to psychotherapy, I find that a daily practice which involves body and mind very helpful in reducing stress and anxiety, increasing emotional resilience and creating a sense of well-being as well as integrating my mind and body. What do I mean by this? Well, not only do I notice the everyday satisfaction of feeling my body becoming more flexible and my mind becoming quieter, but I am more aware of how my mind and body communicate with each other and reflect each other. However, this explanation remains inadequate, as it suggests that the mind and body are two entities – something they are not. Perhaps the most apt explanation of my experience is of an integration of mind and body and the sense that attending to one part of me involves attending to the rest.
Of course, my daily yoga practice does not mean life is now stress-free, but it certainly feels more peaceful and that I increasingly carry within me a resilience – a buffer – whereby I take things less personally. Daily practices such as yoga and embodied meditation, in addition to a deeper exploration of oneself in psychotherapy are, in my view, two of the most effective ways of connecting with self and others, and living a more fulfilling life.