I am always looking for ways to create more continuity between my meditation practice and my asana practice. One way I do this is by trying to include both asana and seated meditation in the same session, so they flow into each other as naturally as possible. Yet, I find that I often get distracted during the active asana part – thinking about how best to sequence a set of poses for myself, or unintentionally turning my practice into a planning session for the next class I’m going to teach. So, today was all about simplicity.
I decided to simplify the asana practice by narrowing it down to two or three main poses, along with a couple of warm ups and release poses. Without pre-planning the routine, I just picked Downward Facing Dog and Warrior 2, following an instinct for what would feel good today, while sticking with basic poses that don’t require a lot of thoughtful warm up and preparation. I circled back to the main two poses several times, and made a point of noticing specific aspects of the pose or physical sensations each time. I also held them for a long time (maybe 10-12 breaths, but I wasn’t counting) to give the space for really being in the shape mindfully. The asana part was sandwiched in between walking meditation and seated meditation to emphasize the intention of continuity.
Here’s what it ended up being:
- Walking Meditation with noting (10 mins) – I do this inside, making a “walking lane” just a little longer than my mat.
- Half Sun Salutations, noting the movements (similar to the noting in the walking meditation)
- Cat/Cow, noting the sensations
- Downward Facing Dog – mostly noticing the feet and legs
- Lunge – mostly noticing the foot’s contact with the floor and the sensation in the hip
- Downward Facing Dog – more attention on the hands and shoulders
- Child’s Pose
- Downward Facing Dog – refining the alignment in the shoulders and arms, mindfully noticing the details and sensations
- Warrior 2 – most attention in the back leg and foot, feeling how the muscles engage, direction of energy
- Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Prasartia Padottanasana)
- Warrior 2 – engaging the legs by isometrically drawing them in toward each other, feeling the sensation of this
- Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
- Warrior 2 – engaging the legs by isometrically reaching them away from each other, feeling the sensation of that
- Downward Facing Dog
- Legs Up the Wall Pose
- Eye of the Needle with foot on wall (hip stretch)
- Seated Meditation (30 minutes)
- Savasana (10 minutes)
That’s it! This worked well for me today, so I’ll be playing around more with the simplicity of looking more deeply at just a few poses. Try it and let me know if it helps you to sustain your mindfulness a little better!