mindfulness-tips

Yoga Teachers Reveal Their Tips For Everyday Mindfulness

With so many distractions occupying our every thought these days, it’s hard to concentrate on just one thing at a time or to even clear our minds at all, which is why mindfulness awareness is so invaluable. It’s important to make some time for ourselves and to find stillness in our minds within a chaotic world, but it can be difficult to know where to start.

We asked the below yoga teachers what their top tip would be for bringing mindfulness into everyday life. This list of expert tips is the perfect place to start for carrying out small but effective methods into your everyday routine which you can start implementing today. These tips are particularly great if you’re a student and you’re struggling concentrating on that exam revision or coping with University stress.

Enjoy some well-deserved 'you' time!

Taylor Harkness


... a former paramedic now aiming to unite others through yoga and optimistic neuropsychology

"Yogis' talk a lot about being mindful, and for good reason. It's so easy to get sucked out of the present, especially with our constant bombardment of stimulation these days. The human brain has a finite amount of cerebral capacity, and is estimated to be roughly equivalent to 56 bits of information per second. This is why it's very hard to focus on two people talking at once and nearly impossible to focus on three. Whenever I feel myself spiralling, it's usually because I've lost my sense of the present - I'm either stressed about the future, concerned with the past or simply distracted.

One of the best tips that I've come to live by is this: become more mindful by making it a habit and a routine to disconnect from technology during activities. For example, when you're having a conversation, practice not looking at your phone, tv, or computer. Instead, try noticing the color of the person's eyes, or the way that they smile. When eating a meal, focus on the aromas and flavors of the food and silence your cell phone. Stop multitasking and instead, do whatever you're currently doing one hundred percent. It takes time and practice but it eventually becomes second nature. Less reliance upon and distraction by technology means more cerebral capacity for the present moment. Begin paying more attention to the things around you and watch how it permeates into the rest of your life."

www.taylorharkness.com

Stephanie Spence


... writer, adventurer, yoga teacher and screenwriter from California

"Stay in the present moment, that's where power is. This is a skill that can be learned. Practice brings rewards. Build your appreciation muscle. What you focus on magnifies, so train yourself to focus on the good things in your life. Embrace your emotions! When you don’t feel good, your emotions are letting you know that you are not aligned with joy and abundance, so stop the train of thoughts that brought you to this point and accept yourself and everything around you exactly as they are at this moment."

   

www.one-with-life.com

Allie Flavio


... born and raised Florida girl who loves the ocean, outdoors and all types of adventure

"Gratitude & Movement.

A gratitude practice is a wonderful way to stay grounded, connected and humbled in times of stress. By recognizing the simple, yet profoundly incredible aspects of our lives, we can truly appreciate the rest of the madness. Wondering how to do this?

Start a gratitude practice.

Write down three things you're grateful for every damn day. Keep it simple, keep it light, keep it fun. It can literally be anything - your cup of coffee, the comfortable bed you sleep in, your outfit, your family and friends, the food you ate... truly, everything is fair game. A movement practice can also be anything, so long as you move, breathe, and feel yourself come alive. Whether you walk, run, do yoga, dance, rock climb, or swim, there's no wrong way to move. The only requirement is that you connect to you, your beautiful self, and the miracle that your body is! Just like the above practice - keep it simple, enjoy it, don't put too much pressure on it. Just move and move every damn day!"

www.thejourneyjunkie.com

Randi Ragan


... holistic wellbeing expert and speaker, mindfulness teacher, ceremonial guide and green living entrepreneur

"I would urge young people to simply try and find moments they can build into each and every day, that allows them to pause, step back, center themselves and focus on their breathing – to turn this pause into a sacred ritual of self-care that provides a bubble of uninterrupted, quiet focus. They don’t have to be thinking of anything in particular – in fact, to NOT think of anything but the present moment is the goal. Do this by becoming aware of how their breath feels, how their skin feels, how the air around them feels; what sounds they hear; to close their eyes and simply BE without ANY kind of distraction (here’s looking at you technology!).

I like to work the sacred number 108 into these ‘pause rituals’. (108 is the number of mala beads on a Buddhist prayer necklace. It shows up in Yoga texts and ancient Hindu scriptures as well). Take 108 steps in a mindful walk, breath and meditate for 108 breaths or 1 minute and 8 seconds, count to 108 while listening to bird sounds, take your pause ritual at 1:08 pm every day, spend 1 hour and 8 minutes writing in your journal every week – literally you can apply this number to anything that you want to set aside and make sacred as YOUR time to be mindful. The more the Pause Ritual is practiced, the more one appreciates its power, and the power to radically alter the way we live our lives on a daily basis. This is Mindfulness In Action!"

   

www.randiragan.com

Adam Husler


... bringing something a little different to the yoga-mix

A photo posted by Adam Husler (@adamhusler) on

A photo posted by Adam Husler (@adamhusler) on

"Take 5 to 10 minutes in the morning to simply sit. Keep with the back of your body long, the front of your body open and spend some time bearing witness to you breath. Don’t have any expectations, don’t look of an elated feeling or a journey in your head, but simply spend some time trying to find calm. Whenever your mind starts to wander to the future or past, return back to the object of your focus; your breath. It can be as simple as that."

   

www.adamhusleryoga.com

Sarah Highfield


... London-based yoga teacher with a passion for achieving the miraculous work-life balance

"Try to remain present; yoga takes us into the present moment, it's the only place where life really exists. We spend far too much time thinking about the past or feeling anxious about the future. Stay focused during your practice, move with your breath and the rest will follow."

   

www.sarahhighfield.com

Gwen Lawrence


... yoga instructor and founder of Power Yoga For Sports program

"Learn diaphragmatic breathing. Simply learning to breath in and out through your nose only, utilizing the bodies natural filtration system (the nose) as well, the nose is built to warm or cool the entering air appropriately for full effectiveness for the body. Adding to that, diaphragmatic breathing means breathing in and out through the nose and deep down into the belly not shallow chest breathing. When you breathe this way as opposed to through the mouth and in the chest you shut off the bodies fight or flight response mechanism and can quickly calm the body, mind and reduce stress, fear and anxiety. Of course there are many simple techniques you can do, but this is the gold standard user friendly one to pick no matter where you are or what situation you find yourself in."

   

www.gwenlawrence.com

Meadow DeVor


... author, yoga teacher, master life coach and founder of Yoga Church

"My best tip is to remember to breathe. Our breath is always available as an anchor to ground us and to help us feel connected to the present moment. Take 3 deep breaths on purpose. It's the quickest way to change your state."

   

www.meadowdevor.com

Katarina Rayburn


... London-based Dynamic Vinyasa yoga teacher and practices Dharma yoga herself

"My top tip for bringing mindfulness into everyday life would 100% be to practice yoga regularly but I appreciate that isn't realistic for everyone. So if that's the case then I'd say give yourself at least 10 minutes in the day where you are completely removed from any distractions, any technology and allow yourself to switch off, cultivating a more internal focus. Starting to notice your breath, linking the body and the mind, which is what we aim to achieve from a yoga practice. If you can get outside in the fresh air, even better! Removing all the clutter and just getting back to basics, it helps me to appreciate the simple things. It's so important to give your mind and body conscious rest, whether it's in Savasana or just sat alone in a park."

   

www.katarinarayburnyoga.com

Calli Popham


... specialises in teaching yoga inversions in a playful and accessible way

A photo posted by Calli Cat (@calliyoga) on

A photo posted by Calli Cat (@calliyoga) on

"Start to write a gratitude list. Every single day, take a moment first thing in the morning to write down at least 10 things that you are grateful for and why. The more we can reflect on the every day things we are grateful for, the more positive and happy we feel and the more wonderful things we welcome in. You can also start to add in things that you would like to manifest, and write them down as if they have already happened, say thank you and then watch the magic happen!"

   

www.calliyoga.co.uk

Soul Analyse


... online community built to remind you of who you are and help you gain clarity in an overloaded world

"Present Moment Awareness

The mind can be one of the biggest distractions when it comes to studying; you might sit down to work on an important project and suddenly your mind is wandering elsewhere, which leaves little room for productivity and concentration.

Dwelling on the past and worrying about the future tend to be the biggest culprits of mind-wandering, so the best way to prevent your mind from straying is to bring your attention to the here and now.

Breathing exercises are a great way to stay present, and you can try this method anytime you notice your mind wandering:

Sitting in a comfortable position, focus your awareness on your breath – don’t try to change your breathing in any way, just simply observe. Feel the air as it flows into your body as you inhale, and listen to it as it leaves your body as you exhale. This helps to shift your attention from the mind and onto whatever is happening right now.

Living in the present moment has many incredible benefits; when we are in a heightened state of awareness, our concentration increases and we are less likely to be distracted by intrusive thoughts. As a result, we experience increased peace, calm and happiness in our lives."

   

www.soulanalyse.com

Kelly Brooks


... trying to change the perspective of yoga, making it fun and accessible to everyone

"Move your body, feel alive, breathe. The breath is so important for mindfulness. When you start to feel stressed out and like you have too much to do and you don't know where to start focus back on your breathing, "sit upright" I know our mothers told us that all the time as children but when we are slouching it's stopping us from breathing effectively.

Long deep breath in and a long deep breath out, drop your tongue to the lower palate and relax the face and jaw. Just 5 deep breathes can make a difference when you are feeling overwhelmed. Another tip is to try and find something positive in every situation, life is out of our control and sometimes things don't go to plan. Staying present in each moment, allowing the emotions to come and go will help."

   

www.kellybrooksyoga.com

Natasha Sherikhora


... finding inner peace to cultivate mindfulness, strength and flexibility in your body and mind

"Yoga and mindfulness provides opportunity to de-stress, relax and to better cope with the stresses that are involved with being a student.

During the busy periods of exams it feels impossible to squeeze anything else in your schedule, that's why it's so important to find some time for yourself in order to allow your mind to clear and to help your body to release the tension that you are constantly accumulating due to the stress.

Start your morning with 10-15 minutes of easy meditation and your favourite physical exercises. You can even start in a bed, laying down with your spine straight, knees bent, right palm on the heart centre, left palm is on your belly. Alternatively sit tall on the chair or on the floor with you legs crossed, crown of the head reaches up, chin is parallel to the floor. Close your eyes and try to focus on the breath, observe all the sensations associated with the breath - your belly rises, chest expands, air goes in and out through your nostrils. Try to deepen your breath and pay special attention to lengthening your exhalation. These long soothing exhales are your best friend in every stressful situation, use it any time you need to focus and calm down. Don't underestimate the power of the breath, really soon you will notice the benefits even at the beginning it may feel like waist of time :)

A few rounds of San Salutations, gentle stretching, a short run or dancing to your favourite song helps to improve blood flow, releases endorphins and improves your mood for the day ahead!

With all the classes, homework, exams, parents' expectations and jobs outside of school you are constantly under pressure. It's easy to lose your focus, to forget the purpose and to loose motivation. Stay present, don't compare yourself with anyone else, focus on the positive sides of the process and most be patient with yourself"

www.soluckysogreen.com

Rachel Scott


... artistic educator, romantic adventurer and yoga nerd

"Being a student can be stressful! Juggling deadlines, workloads, and extracurricular activities can lead to anxiety and burn out. Mindfulness is a wonderful tool for reducing stress while increasing focus. One of my favourite mindfulness techniques is also the simplest: counting the breath. Best of all, you can do it wherever you are: in the library, seated before a test, or even during a lecture.

- Sit comfortably with a tall spine.

- Begin to count your breath: inhale for a count of four, and exhale for a count of four.

- Continue to inhale and exhale slowly and evenly.

- Repeat 5-10 times.

Even just 5-10 repetitions will help to calm the body and still the busy-ness of the mind. If you have the time, extend the length of this practice to five minutes for a soothing and effective meditation. This simple exercise is a gem: slowing the breath pacifies the nervous system, while counting the breath helps to focus and clear the mind."

   

www.rachelyoga.com

Kate Watson


... Co-founder of NEUlotus, a multi-use yoga prop to help with alignment and support

"Alignment in mindfulness and breath.

When we talk about mindfulness and presence, the first thing we discuss is breath. How should you breathe to create a sense of relaxation in the body and mind? Diaphragmatic breathing drops our body out of the ‘fight or flight’ body response and into the parasympathetic nervous system, and this is where we need to be to relax!

Our ‘fight or flight’ response is where we are mostly living these days and it is nearly impossible to relax in this state. Excess weight, stress, insomnia, addiction and a lack of concentration are all side effects of being in this ‘fight or flight’ state. This is where the breath can help change the bodies health, Pranayama.

To begin a good Pranayama practice, find a comfortable position where your body can be in neutral (check out www.neulotus.com for more info on neutral), this will allow your diaphragm the proper space to expand and drop with the opening of your ribcage. Breathe deep and wide into your ribcage and exhale completely until the last stale air of your lungs exits the body. Repeat this breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth until you soften. Really take the time to concentrate on visualizing the breathe moving in and out of the body.

Do you feel the softness and the ease? This is presence. This is alignment and mindfulness. Enjoy."

www.neulotus.com

Bram Levinson


... offers alternative approaches to physical, mental and emotional well-being

"Set intentions. Every morning we should set an intention for that day - what we want out of it, how we want to feel during it. In addition to a daily intention, we should also set an intention for life.

We should constantly be asking ourselves how we want this experience of life to unfold and set a clear intention to do our part for that desire to be fulfilled. This is not to say that we have complete control over what occurs, but we do have influence, and a fair share of it is up to us."

   

www.bramlevinson.com

Jennifer Marie Lane


... creating mystical musings and guided meditations

"Blessings for stress

When I’m stressed, my mind swirls in a frenzied state of overwhelm. I can’t seem to focus on anything, let alone the rhythm of my breath or sensations in my body. Any attempt to turn inward is thwarted by the chaos. Does this sound familiar?

So instead of forcing my mind into compliance, I step outside. I look for traits in nature that mirror the qualities that I would like to embody, and I bless those beings and objects. As I bless the outer world, my inner world shifts. Here are a few examples to inspire your powerful mind:

Blessings to counter stress:

- Blessed be the sky, so clear and vast.

- Blessed be the sweet birdsongs, soothing and charming.

- Blessed be the mountains in the distance for enduring the test of time.

Blessings to promote productivity:

- Blessed be the redwood tree, so tall and rooted.

- Blessed be the bees, gathering pollen and making an abundance of golden honey.

- Blessed be the road and road signs for taking people to their destinations with ease and clarity."

www.beautyloveandmagic.com

Kristina Hohage


... keeping Vinyasa yoga classes unpredictable, with a laugh in every class

"When you try to bring mindfulness into every day life, don’t make it complicated.

Start small and easy. Start with something you do regularly and do it mindfully - so with your full attention. Eat without distraction, savouring every bite. How does it smell? Hear the sound your chewing makes, taste every single flavour, enjoy! Brush your teeth with full awareness, feel the brush moving around every single tooth. When you get dressed, balance on one foot whilst you put a sock on the other. Or try putting your trousers on starting with the other leg. That last one took me days to manage because I would only remember when already dressed. Then for a while I remembered only seconds too late, would take my trousers off again and put them on with the odd leg first. Eventually I managed to stay mindful and aware the entire time it took me to get dressed.

When you find yourself getting stressed, take a deep breath, feel it coming in through the nose or mouth, flowing into the lungs and all the way back out again, really slowly! Maybe lift your arms on the inhale and let them sink down on the exhalation. Repeat until you find yourself calming down. When you find yourself anxious, do the same, or even simpler, start noticing everything around you - smells, tastes, sounds, the feeling of your feet on the floor and of your clothes on your skin.

Practicing mindfulness is not new and is not complicated but it does need regular practice. If you do practice it, you will find yourself more relaxed, more focused, and more content."

   

www.rockthemat.com

Rachel Koontz


... Californian yoga teacher and blogger, Reiki healer and creator of Alive in the Fire

Photos by CKC Image

"Meditation, yoga, writing and breathing practices help me stay mindful.

On stressful days, I try to give myself permission to sit with what is, whether I'm tired or emotional or overwhelmed. I like to sit down or sometimes take 'legs up the wall' pose and just spend a few minutes noticing my body. Where do I feel tense? How am I breathing? What is the energy in my body like in this moment?

Rolling out my yoga mat and moving for 15-20 minutes allows me to release stagnant energy. Some days, I'll stay with one pose for an extended period of time. One minute in headstand, or two minutes in Pigeon on each side -- that can make a huge difference in how my day is going!

I also love to write in my journal. I think it's important to write from a place of authenticity. If I'm having a rough day, I might not write a gratitude list. I might write about why I'm upset, why I feel stuck, or what I'm fearful of. On happy days, a gratitude list or a blog post or a long post on Instagram might be more fitting. The important thing is to start with how I'm truly doing, instead of trying to pretend I'm in a different space.

Breathing is so important too. Lately I've been all about Nadi Shodhana, alternate nostril breathing. I feel so relaxed after just a few minutes of this Pranayama technique. I'm grateful that there are so many methods for staying mindful and for releasing stress, since different days I need different tools.

Namaste."

   

Julia White


... yoga and aromatherapy to balance mind and body

"Exams can mean months of tension and stress from hours of studying. Yoga and Aromatherapy can help ease both the physical and mental tensions.

Sit in a comfortable cross legged position, if this is too much, sit on a chair but make sure that you sit at the front of the chair, with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Rest you hand on your knees, palms facing up. Begin to take some nice deep breaths, breathing in and out through the nose only, keeping the mouth closed. Try closing the eyes and begin to really focus on your breath; begin to lengthen your inhales and exhales. Inhale for a count of 8 and exhale out for a count of 8. You want to get your inhales and exhales exactly the same length and also work on lengthening the breath to a level that is comfortable. Continue breathing like this for several minutes until you find yourself in a completely relaxed state.

Alternatively, lie on the floor or in bed and rest your hands on your abdomen. As you inhale your diaphragm should rise and as you exhale, your diaphragm should come back down. Continue breathing like this for 6 - 12 rounds, until you feel completely relaxed.

Using Aromatherapy Oils is a wonderful way to help you cope with the stress of exams and can also help to increase your levels of concentration.

Place a couple of drops of Rosemary Essential Oil on a tissue and sniff at regular intervals to help boost flagging energy levels and also to aid concentration.

To relax, add a couple of drops of Lavender oil to a soothing bath before bedtime to unwind at the end of the day and to ensure a restful night’s sleep. Alternatively, place a few drops of Lavender oil on a tissue and place inside your pillow case on your bed so that you breathe in the soothing and relaxing aroma as you sleep. Use Yoga and Aromatherapy to help you relax and sail through your exams with calm and ease."

   

www.beautifulmindbeautifulbody.co.uk

J. Brown


... seeking to change the dialog, and direction, of yoga practice in the west

​"The only thing that someone can do to bring mindfulness into everyday life is have a regular practice that facilitates that. This can take many different forms but my recommendation is these simple breathing and moving exercises in the link below:"

Slower is stronger

   

www.j.brownyoga.com

Lauren Walker


... international yoga teacher and Author of 'Energy Medicine Yoga'

"Be mindful that the world is often overfull. Too many choices, too much of everything. In order to simplify life, and to increase your joy within it, step back and listen. Don't be so quick to add your two cents. Listen.... It is a rare commodity these days. And it is the way to find a deeper peace within. To cultivate your more receptive nature instead of feed the beast of 'post, post, post..'

Listen to everything, the world outside and then the world within. This is where peace resides..."

   

www.emyoga.net

Ashley Josephine Zuberi


... embracing life through mindful movement, meditation and a yoga-inspired lifestyle

"As a yoga instructor the best tool I have to offer to anyone who is trying to reduce stress and boost productivity is the breath. Make it a priority to take 10 deep, conscious breaths in between projects or tasks and it will totally change your energy and your ability to focus."

   

www.ashleyjosephine.com

Inspirational right? These mindfulness tips are actually manageable, rather than the in-depth tips you might read in a book with strong intentions but then later on the book just sits on your shelf collecting dust. Make a decision today and start inputting these subtle changes into your everyday life which will make a difference to your well-being and increase your awareness around mindfulness.

If you enjoyed reading this feature, please share to all your friends so they can enjoy these expert tips on mindfulness as well...

Struggling to concentrate? Mind always whizzing all over the place? These mindfulness tips are actually manageable, rather than the in-depth tips you might read in a book with strong intentions but then later on the book just sits on your shelf collecting dust. Make a decision today and start inputting these simple but effective expert tips into your everyday life, which will make a difference to your well-being and increase your awareness around mindfulness.