Yoga is a mind-body practices that incorporates physical postures, breath, and meditation to induce and improve relaxation, mood management, physical flexibility, agility, and strength, as well as for many, find ways to connect inwards.
Think of creating harmony between the mind and the body.
So many times in our days, we get to be in our mind space of thinking, planning, deciding, analyzing... along with the times where we are in our body space of movement in doing, going, arriving, working, etc.
It is rare that as one or the other is in action that we bring awareness to the other... they just happen in tandem to one another.
The goal of the mind-body connection states that our chemistry and biology impact our mood and emotions, as well as thoughts and beliefs. With all of these factors combined, they play a major role in influencing our stress and physical health.
So whether you are consistent in the postures of yoga in class or on your own, yoga off of your mat is yoga as well.
Here are a few approaches to consider:
Breathe: Just like in yoga class, breathe when uncomfortable sensations (fear, anger, sadness, judgemtn) arise, breathing takes us from fight, flight, or freeze—the sympathetic nervous system, to the parasympathetic nervous system where relaxation can occur. So just as one would take deeper inhales and longer exhales on the mat to settle into a posture or pose, the same can be done at work when stress arises. Taking deeper inhales and extended exhales to settle ourselves and create cognitive space necessary to proceed with care, caution, or creativity, etc. vs being reactionary or shutting down.
Feel: Feel your feelings and bring notice to the sensations that come up in your body. Some of us have been taught fear, shame, or disgust for certain ranges of emotion... some taught by how others respond when we naturally have expressed fear or anger or sadness, and others have heard certain trigger words such as "Don't feel sad" or "It is not about how you feel" that have inadvertedly taught us that feelings are problematic. So, when a stressor arises, try giving yourself permission to feel whatever comes with it.
Watch: Explore your capacity to notice what’s happening with you without judgment. This can allow space to be held for compassion for self. Become the observor in your world and also expand this out to others in being an observer versus giving into the urges to be reactionary in how we interact and engage with others. Explore ways to devleop passionate non-attachment to people, situations, and experiences as an opportunity to release control.