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Yoga Boosts Self-Awareness: Why Is This Important?

Yoga Wellness Educator. Certified to teach Hatha Yoga, Meditation, Pilates, Reiki. Yoga Therapist-in-training. I love to write.

Personal development is like the opening of a rose; one petal at a time unfolds.

Personal development is like the opening of a rose; one petal at a time unfolds.

Self-Aware

You are said to be self-aware when you have a conscious knowledge of your own character, feelings, motives, and desires. This understanding involves recognizing your strengths and weaknesses and knowing yourself.

Self-awareness means monitoring your stress, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. It is a powerful method to influence your personal development.

To improve your self-awareness, be aware of your:

  • Innate powers
  • Emotions and feelings
  • Body and physical sensations
  • Environment, and
  • The way you relate to others.

Be Mindful When Doing Yoga

During your yoga session:

  • Be mindful of how you get into a pose and when you hold it for some time.
  • When you come out of a pose and before you move into another one, take a moment to notice how you feel and if there are any physical sensations in your body. Observe the moment in between two poses.
  • Get into the habit of synchronizing the breath with the movement.
  • Work with a yoga therapist if you want special attention to a non-medical condition you are dealing with.

Sync Your Breath With the Movement

Exercise

Inhale means breathing in through the nose. Exhale means breathing out through the nose.

  1. Starting position: Lie on your back comfortably on a yoga mat or a blanket. Either extend your legs straight or bend them. Keep your arms at your sides near your hips and have your palms turned down.
  2. Inhale through your nose and, after one or two seconds, start to slowly raise your arms up over your head—in sync with your inhalation—until they reach the ground behind you.
  3. When you reach the end of the inhalation, pause for one or two seconds even if your arms do not touch the floor behind you. Then exhale slowly and bring your arms back to your sides. The breath envelops the movement.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 at a comfortable pace.

Open or expand as you inhale; fold or contract as you exhale.

Boosting Self-Awareness

The regular practice of yoga and meditation enhances self-awareness. But how useful is this?

Self-reflection is the best way to enhance self-awareness, as it will help reduce the drama in your life. Drama comes from poor communication and misunderstanding.

A drama queen is a person who likes to inflame a conflict, adding fuel to the fire and reveling in it.

How?

  • Do not add excessive drama when you deal with others.
  • Avoid exaggerating or rehashing situations.
  • When you notice that you are dramatizing a situation or that your inner talk is too negative (due to anger, fear, or worry) remind yourself that it drains your energy and does not help.
  • Do not listen to or watch too much stressful news. If that is not possible, then try to be dispassionate about what you hear.
  • Do not let yourself be dragged into someone else’s drama. Listen if you must, then leave. Refrain from indulging in other people’s self-pity.

Healing Rituals

A ritual is an act that is done on a regular basis. We set a time and place to honor our right to feel intense emotions that we are unable to articulate in daily living. Feeling these emotions allows us to let go and move on.

Caring for your spirit can take a secular or a sacred form. Examples of secular rituals are exercising, walking, doing yoga, or a family gathering. Examples of sacred rituals are praying, meditating, and chanting.

Healing rituals are intended to decrease the risk of burnout, to build compassion, and to increase your sense of connectedness.

How To Prepare for a Healing Ritual

  1. Make sure you are comfortable and will not be interrupted for some time. Eliminate distractions and turn off your phone.
  2. Use a room that is dedicated to the healing work, if available.
  3. Make sure the room temperature is comfy with subtle lighting and soothing colors.
  4. Light a candle or put on some music.

Exercise:

  1. Relax.
  2. Distance yourself from your experience and your interpretation of an upsetting event.
  3. Form your positive healing intention.
  4. Use imagery or imagination (see explanation below) to create an improved situation.
  5. Put yourself in a healing state of consciousness.
  6. Spend time integrating your five senses of hearing, seeing, smelling, touching, and tasting with the situation to heal.
  7. Come back slowly to an alert state.
  8. Enjoy feeling relaxed and having renewed energy.
Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Self-Care

Self-care requires strong relationships that involve effective communication skills like:

  • Accurate listening
  • Use of silence
  • Appropriate body language
  • Restating what was said
  • Summarizing what was said
  • Self-awareness

Communicating your needs in a safe and loving way will help to open your heart. This in turn increases your emotional balance.

If you are unable to be with others physically, you gain by sending them loving and compassionate thoughts and feelings.

Meditate:

Use any variation of a mind-body method such as:

  • Breath awareness
  • Deep breathing
  • Centering prayer
  • Mindfulness
  • Walking meditation
  • Sound meditation

The witnessing aspect of any meditation approach is when you observe and let go of your thoughts as they appear and disappear.

Concept of Now

When you are mindful, you become aware of the choices you make at every moment.

When you stay in the present moment, you gain from:

  • Living the flow of the experience that would enhance your pleasure in what you are doing.
  • Staying calm.
  • Reducing stress as you let go of regretting the past, feeling disillusioned by the present, and losing hope in future developments.
  • Noticing an increased happiness and improved relationships.

Exercise:

  • Choose an everyday activity and watch what you think, how you move, and what you feel.
  • When you notice that your attention is weakening, just bring it back to the task at hand.
yoga-boosts-self-awareness-why-is-this-important

How To Live in the Moment

Our thoughts are either psychological or functional.

Psychological thoughts decide if something is good or bad. These are the thoughts that create our suffering as we perceive opposites. If a thought has an opposite, then we will consider one side to be good and the other side to be bad.

Functional thoughts do not create suffering. They answer the question ‘How do I do that?’ Functional thoughts establish how to build something, how to get to our destination, or how to resolve a problem.

Entirely functional thoughts do not cause suffering, only psychological thoughts do.

Imagination and Imagery

Imagination is the image-making power of the mind; the act of creating an object not seen before; the ability to create such an image. (Wikidiff.com)

Imagery is the flow of your thoughts when you can see, hear, feel, smell, or taste your imagination. In imagery, you make an image or a visible representation of an object.

References

What Is Self-Awareness, and How Do You Get It? By Davis T. Psychology Today. (March 11, 2019)

How to Combine Breath and Movement in Yoga. By Georg Feuerstein and Larry Payne. Basic Yoga Postures and Series in a Day for Dummies.

A Guide to the Present Moment. Elkrief N.

Certificate in Mindful Relationship, Toronto Public Library online course.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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