Yoga as the Mediator between our Hearts and Minds

To mark International Day of Yoga on Tuesday, 21 June, we have a special blog by Natalie Young, Peaceful Alchemy , an innovative social enterprise specifically designed for women and young people in the community and open to all in the workplace.

We are born with an intrinsic desire to connect and form relationships with people, our kin folk, whether by blood or by choice. Whether that’s the family we’re born into or the family we collect and stick to like Fuzzy-Felt. Some people do not ‘stick’, which is okay too – that’s just how we make space for other people to enter our lives.

We connect with others by investing time exploring relationships, interests, hobbies, listening and learning their ‘back stories’ about their likes and dislikes, and observing their responses and reactions. All of this helps us connect with others on a deeper, more intimate level.

But how do we connect on a deeper level or any level with ourselves?

The physical movement of Yoga can provide all of the above. With Yoga, we can observe and listen not through words but feeling. Pay attention to the language of your breath and notice how the breath reacts of its own accord to the different thoughts that come and go (and it is okay for thoughts to come and go). They are your most fantastic teacher. Feelings, not thoughts, come from a primal place deep in your core when you connect and listen.

As your body moves, pay attention to the flexibility and the resistance; what is it teaching you about you? When you practice Yoga, you subconsciously approach your practice the same way you approach life. Do you give up easily, do you get distracted, or do you commit and follow through with your intentions?

When you are finding a posture challenging, what do you do? Do you get annoyed and clench your teeth with stubborn determination, adamant you will reach that pose regardless of the price, which could be an injury? Or do you take a breath and feel grateful for the moment and where you are in the present, knowing that your daily practice will progress further next day?

Don't be a stranger in your own heart. Take time to pay attention to your internal responses to people and situations. Babies have a natural instinct and notice the slightest change in others' facial expressions and tone of voice. Do you know how your body communicates with you – what messages it sends you? Increased heart rate, shallow breath, the contagious smile. Pay attention and be guided by feeling, not thought—both on and off the mat.

Yoga can be the magical mediator between our hearts and minds – when you listen….

To learn more about Peaceful Alchemy, click here.