Despite of coming from two different philosophical traditions, the practice of yoga and the one of Mindfulness are very similar in their essence and ultimate purpose that is the experience of our authentic SELF and of a deep state of self-observation both at the body and the mind level.
Although modern yoga is mainly perceived as a physical practice, its objective is in fact the “cessation of the fluctuations of the mind” - YOGA CHITTA VRITTI NIRODHA - according to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the book the philosophy of yoga is based on.
Unfortunately, by “modernizing” the practice of Yoga, we have turned it into a series of physical exercises in which - many times - the posture itself becomes more important than the experience of connection with our body INSIDE the posture.
Paul Grilley - father of Yin Yoga – talks about this when making a clear distinction between the aesthetic approach and the functional approach to yoga: if in the first case, the focus is on how we "SEE" the posture from the outside, in the second one it is instead on how we “FEEL” the posture from the inside.
The AESTHETIC approach to yoga often becomes a praise to our ego, promoted by social networks in which postures not accessible to most of the population are considered and applauded as an “advanced” yoga practice, reducing this millenary practice to a simple gymnastic skill.
The FUNCTIONAL approach to yoga, on the other hand, implies a deep practice of Mindfulness as it invites us to experience a state of self-observation as well as - with the words of Bernie Clark - to “use the pose to access our body and not our body to access the pose. "
Integrating Mindfulness into the practice of Yoga means bringing awareness to what is happening inside of you at all times.
The posture itself is not important, what matters is the experience you have inside each posture:
What have you learned about yourself during your practice?
What does your body need?
Are you moving from a space of love and respect for your body or do you want to show anything?
Can you stay mentally calm in the middle of an uncomfortable posture?
This FUNCTIONAL perspective restores the real meaning of Yoga and its origins, taking you on an authentic path of self-discovery so that you can remember your essence beyond the mental noise that makes you identify with a false idea of who you are.