How To Practice Yoga With Grace

Grace (noun) 1. a smooth and beautiful way of moving. 2. kind, polite and fair behaviour

Grace is not always the easiest quality to welcome into our lives, particularly when we live in such a fast moving, immediate society. Multi-tasking is admired, ‘to-do’ lists are excessive, deadlines are a plenty and we skip into the fast lane as often as we can. Don’t get me wrong, keeping up with the pace of life around you is often a necessity, however maintaining that pace long term can be detrimental to your health.

Our bodies are designed to get up and go when we need them to, to make a deadline, to get through a busy day, to keep it all together. It’s when our sympathetic nervous system kicks in and mobilises the body for ‘fight or flight’.

Whilst being in this phase is often needed, staying in this state is not a healthy way to live. We need to step out of the fast lane and into the slow lane regularly, allowing our parasympathetic nervous system to take over so our body can ‘rest & digest’.

A common practice, however, is that it needs to be one extreme or the other. Either we’re at full speed and getting it all done or we’re taking a holiday and completely stop. But what if giving yourself a break or allowing some ‘self-care’ wasn’t something that we held off until we take a holiday or didn’t require such an extreme.

What if we could find more grace in our everyday activities?

“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” ~ Deepak Chopra

In the practice of yoga we recommend finding the balance between strength and softness, between push and pull, yin & yang. Even in the most challenging Power Yoga class there is room for grace and stillness, it’s what keeps us fluid on the mat. We look for softness not only in our movements, but in our breath and in our ability to focus mentally.

When we begin to cultivate these qualities in our practice we soon see them translate into our daily lives. Much like our yoga practice should be, finding grace on and off the mat is more than just a physical practice. As we approach the silly season, how can we be gracious in our attitude towards others and ourselves?

“There is no such thing as work-life-balance – it is all life. The balance has to be within you.” ~ Sadhguru

Here are our top tips to find more grace:

  • Breathe – the breath is such an important part of your physical and mental health, and has the ability to influence your nervous system bringing you into a sympathetic or parasympathetic state.
  • Stillness – take the time to pause regularly in your day. Literally stop for a few breaths and focus. Whatever activities you follow with will be so much more productive as a result.
  • Replenish – keep yourself healthy with regular rest (a good night’s sleep) and nutritious food. The healthier you are on the inside the better your body will function.
  • Schedule – schedule in stops, breaks, holidays. Schedule in whatever you need to ensure that the busy period doesn’t carry on through to the next year and beyond indefinitely.
  • Be Kind – be kind to yourself, be kind to others. Despite how busy we may get, nothing substitutes for good old fashion kindness and grace in our actions. Treat yourself and others kindly.
Whilst you can’t avoid this busy time of year, you can take the opportunity to find softness in movement and thought when you step onto the mat. Use your practice as a chance to reconnect and avoid getting swept up in the stress. Allow your body and mind the chance to decompress and replenish, to ‘rest & digest’ regularly, helping you to feel more energised and calm as you approach the rest of your day.
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About the author: Andy Broadbear is a qualified Yoga Therapist & Teacher with particular interest in pre/postnatal + women’s health. She teaches yoga and does the social media marketing at Kula Yoga, as well as running her own small Yoga Therapy business through Eastern Osteopathy Melbourne. Andy is co-founder of YogaMamas, on online yoga community for mums, as well as a health & wellness blogger, hobby photographer and busy mama of 3!

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Detoxify & energise with Hot Yoga. Tone & sculpt with Power Flow. Strengthen & stretch with Basics and Slow Flow. Relax & mobilise with Yin Yoga at our beautiful studio in Hawthorn, Melbourne.
We also offer Prenatal & Postnatal yoga classes and Yoga With Baby. Our studio also hosts regular workshops, Victorian and overseas retreats to exotic places like Bali and Thailand, as well as a mobile yoga service for community, school and corporate groups. Kula Yoga is the largest studio in the Camberwell and Hawthorn area offering 39 classes, 7 days a week. Enjoy modern facilities, expert teachers and a range of complementary wellness services for optimal health.
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