Being Mindful

Being Mindful by Darlene Kee

I knew from my first yoga class that yoga would be essential to my journey.  As I stepped into the little dimly lit studio in the middle of the bustling city, sounds faded into the quiet energy of the room.  It was as if the my world stopped…my attention drawn to that singular space and time clarifying, opening and lighting the way to a new way of being.  Over the years, yoga has helped shed a light on the beautiful ephemeral life that is a gift and not something to take for granted.  The practice has helped me to see beyond my smallness into the bigness of the greater whole.

One does not have to subscribe to a particular religion or spiritual path to practice mindfulness.  The power of mindfulness to create a more meaningful and full life is not a matter of religion or spirituality but rather a human one.  We can all benefit from living with more intention and awareness and ultimately living more in peace.

The physical practice of hatha yoga is intended to create space- dust out the cobwebs-so that body and mind can settle into a quiet stillness for seated meditation.  As we move through asanas (postures) on the mat, we meet our real and self-imposed boundaries, our inner world and ultimately our true voice.  Approaching yoga with intentional inquiry is a twofold endeavor. Bringing awareness into the changing tones of the breath and body can anchor us into the present experience in the reality of now.  We begin to realize how much of our energy is spent in our memories and anticipation of events yet to come-at the expense of being absent in the here and now.  Over time and through practice, we come to recognize that some of our habits prohibit us from the full extraordinary gift of life.  In addition, cultivating awareness of our moment to moment experience also invites space around our thoughts, emotions and reactions on and off the mat.  We learn to be the sky, not the weather.  We learn to be less at the mercy of the ups and downs of life.

The mat is a training ground for life. Here we meet our body as it is. Here we meet ourselves, as only we know ourselves.  As the body transitions into shapes, we breathe our bodies and become reacquainted in the temple we have forgotten in the rush of our scheduled lives.  Our practice of mindfulness guides us back home time and time again.

Be Mindful is a class dedicated to focusing on mindfulness in action and in stillness. Mindful exploration of the internal experience of each posture is emphasized helping to create a calmer state of mind in preparation for meditation.  Be Mindful meets every Thursday morning at 8:00-9:00am. Each class incorporates a moderate hatha practice and concludes with a 10 minute seated meditation.  A variety of meditation approaches are offered.

Mindfulness is paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judgmentally, as if your life depended on it.

                                                                                                                                                                 -Jon Kabat-Zinn

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