Out of the Notebook and into the blog: Combining Meditation, Yoga, and Ballet to become more Mindful and Clear

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Combining Meditation, Yoga, and Ballet to become more Mindful and Clear

Image: Ben Sasso

I sat here with this post page up, with the beautiful photo taken by Ben Sasso as the only content on it.  I wanted to write, but I didn't know what to say.  So many words but no clear picture of what I wanted to say.  Until now.

The definition of Mindfulness is: "a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique."

The University of St. Thomas has extremely high student stress rates, if I remember right it's somewhere around %55 higher than the national average.

In response, St. Thomas has been doing huge promotions of mindfulness and meditation.  There are mindfulness/meditation workshops you can go to at least three times a week and in my Theology class we start the hour by meditating.

At first I was super wary about meditating, how can focusing on breathing and the present benefit me when my pile of homework is higher than mount everest.  Skeptical or lazy or both, I avoided it like Ebolla for the first part of the semester.  

I've joined the bandwagon though and have found that Meditating helps reduce stress, increase happiness, increase clarity, center yourself, relax, and generate ideas.  The thing about meditating, is that everyone does it differently.

I get bored easily, so I combine yoga, ballet, and meditation to be the most effective for me.  Of course, it's my personal interpretation of each discipline, which is ok, the goal is to walk away feeling better and more "mindful."

How I combine Yoga, Ballet, and Meditation 

1) Yoga:

Yoga adds an extra element to the practice of meditation.  I like to play soft ocean waves or piano music while doing it.  It relaxes me and allows me to forget the distraction of doing nothing when focusing on the actual meditation.

2)  Ballet:

Ballet centers me, ballet focuses on perfect alignment one hundred and fifty percent of the time.  It forces you into perfection and no one is humanly possible to reach that perfection but we tell ourselves we must, we bully ourselves until we do (mind games I'd tell you).  This alignment helps immensely in yoga, making your movements stronger, more powerful.

3) Meditation:
I focus on my breath, my chest moving up and down as my breath goes in and out naturally, easily.  I try to focus on nothing else, but it is impossible, the key is to immediately bring your thoughts back in when you catch yourself thinking of things.

Have you thought about meditation?  Yoga?  Mindfulness? 

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