Practising mindfulness has become increasingly important over the past year and a half. With all the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic, the ability to take a step back and be present has become more essential than ever.

Mindfulness can be achieved in a variety of ways and there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that involves a calm awareness of your current feelings and bodily sensations. As someone who struggles to meditate in the more traditional sense, I thought that being mindful was something I wasn’t really capable of. I tried various methods, such as mediation apps or taking a few minutes out of my day to wind down, but I still found I wasn’t able to focus my attention on being mindful.

Fast forward to March 2020, I started stretching on a daily basis as a form of self-care and to pass the time during lockdown. Like many others, I was constantly stressed by the unknown of what the pandemic would bring and I found it was a good distraction. Until one day it occurred to me, stretching wasn’t just a distraction, it was my way of practising mindfulness. I realised it was the only time in my day where I was fully present and consciously aware of how I was feeling, mentally and physically. When I’m stretching, I focus my energy on where the tension in my body is and how a stretch can relieve that tension. I find that my muscles are tighter when I am more stressed which works as an indicator of how I’m feeling even when I wasn’t previously aware of it.

Also, focusing on our breathing is a very important aspect of any yoga flow or stretch routine. The process of inhaling and exhaling as we stretch and relax our muscles allows us to follow and be aware of our breath patterns, concentrating our attention on the present moment and on ourselves. We are being mindful of our bodies, thoughts and feelings.

If like me, you’ve never really been able to meditate, try stretching as a means of mindfulness and relaxation. If you do decide to give it a go, make sure you don’t neglect your breathing and don’t put any pressure on yourself to achieve any specific poses. Allow it to be a means of self-care to get the maximum benefits of mindfulness.

Join Hania for a Flexology Stretch Class to experience the mindfulness of stretching for yourself Book Now

 

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