Hatha Yoga is the style of yoga most commonly practiced today. It emphasizes the physical postures (asanas) for balancing, stretching, and strengthening the body. The goal of Hatha Yoga is to "quiet the mind" to prepare the body for meditation. Traditional yoga was about meditation and breathing practices (pranayama). Modern yoga focuses more on the physical aspects, often leading people to mistakenly view yoga as exercise. The goal of all yoga is to foster the union of body, mind, and spirit.
Mindfulness can be described as a present moment awareness practice to help focus our attention, stretch and broaden our perspective, balance our emotions, strengthen our resiliency, ground our nervous system, and cultivate peace and equanimity. Mindfulness can be practiced through meditation (formal practice), movement (yoga, walking, etc.), and in your daily activities (informal practice).
In mindfulness, just as in yoga, breath is our anchor.
Yoga can help to alleviate pain and correct muscle imbalance. We learn to manage and reduce pain, with Mindfulness, by changing how we relate to the pain. Rather than causing increased tension (and suffering), by resisting the pain, through the practice of mindful meditation, we learn to acknowledge and be with it. Jon Kabat-Zinn introduced mindfulness to the medical field in the 1960's, originally, to help patients manage chronic pain and depression.
Yoga and Mindfulness are two of the many strategies that are most conducive to integrating into the home, school, workplace, and into your daily life (at any age); therefore, it's important to understand that in order to cultivate change, to make progress, and to improve your well being, these embodied practices need to become part of your lifestyle (just like eating healthy, brushing your teeth, and exercising).
Awakening to the full sensory experience of eating allows us to slow down and savor each bite of food. Not only is this healthier for our digestion, but it provides an opportunity to incorporate mindful moments throughout our day...taking time to pause, settle our mind and body, and appreciate the moment we're in, right here and now.
Mudras are practiced with Yoga and Meditation to help seal the energy in and recycle it through the body. Mudras are used to communicate and connect wthin ourselves....our body and inner consciousness. Each finger represents one of the five elements (Fire, Air, Space, Earth, Water) and when connected, using the hand postures, a circuit of energy is completed. There are many Mudras available to help prevent illness and improve health.