Cultivating mindfulness to improve your Ashtanga practice

It seems fair to say that mindfulness and Ashtanga (and a yoga and/or asana practice in general) are intertwined.

Of course, mindfulness on its own is a broad topic — as all the focus on it of late attests.

Now, scientists have studied mindfulness’ — controlled awareness, in this case — positive effect on people’s exercise routines.

A link to the study is here. A user-friendly take is here, via the New York Times:

In essence, the scientists were trying to determine how much their volunteers exercised, how satisfied they were with that exercise, how mindful they were during exercise, and how those variables affected each other.

It turned out, unsurprisingly, that the people who reported being most satisfied with exercise were also the people who exercised the most, and vice versa.

But mindfulness also played a pronounced role in making exercise feel satisfying, the data showed. People who reported being mindful during exercise also generally reported satisfaction with exercise.

There was little correlation, however, between the amount of mindfulness people reported and their exercise habits, leading the scientists to conclude that mindfulness affected exercise mostly indirectly, by altering satisfaction.

The Times reports that the study — like virtually all — has its limitations, but “the data do suggest that “being present” during exercise and “observing all aspects that comprise” the experience might render the workout more satisfying.”

So, if you’re trying to work your way through the back part of Second Series — or, heaven forbid, tackling Third — maybe cultivating a mindfulness practice is an ingredient to add.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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