Recently something powerful clicked into place for me. I’ve practiced yoga on and off for over 25 years and what I loved most about it was when I would leave a class feeling different than when I walked in. Sometimes I would feel so calm, refreshed, centered… like I had gotten in touch with something deeper, perhaps a deeper part of myself, like I had glimpsed my true self just for a short time. It wouldn’t always happen and I wondered – was it the style of the class? (there are so many different kinds of yoga) Was it the instructor?

It was only after becoming an instructor myself that I solved the mystery. My training was in a very traditional style of yoga, called Sampoorna, which has a basic sequence that is modified depending on the type of students and their needs. After teaching in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility I began to modify the classes to focus the students’ attention in order to achieve a more relaxed state. But, it was only after taking an advanced training in Yoga for Veterans that I realized I had been practicing and teaching Mindful Movement.

Mindful Movement is one of the basic tools employed by the Veterans Yoga Project to help veterans manage the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. It’s also what leads to that really cool, elusive state that I experienced from time to time. Mindful movement is the practice of cultivating awareness while engaged in a physical exercise. But, not all yoga is mindful movement. Currently, yoga is practiced for many different reasons, varying from increased flexibility to stress management to physical strength. In my opinion, all kinds of yoga have some benefit. Whether yoga is mindful movement really depends on the intention of the instructor and how they teach the class.

Interestingly, according to legend, yoga was originally developed as part of an overall meditation practice. The yogis would go through a series of movements and postures in preparation for a final seated meditation. When yoga came to the United States, people discovered all different beneficial uses for yoga. And today there are all kinds of yoga being practiced across the country.

In my Mindful Movement yoga classes I invite students to bring their awareness to specific parts of the body in order to practice directing the awareness. Each time they gently place the awareness on a body part, it is like a mini meditation. We hold the attention for a few breaths and move on to the next posture. Over time, practitioners develop the ability to direct their awareness by their own will and they are less likely to be influenced by outside circumstances.

6 Benefits of Mindful Movement

There are many benefits of Mindful Movement, (probably too many to list here) However, this is a sampling:

  • Emotional Control – Awareness is the space between action and reaction. By lengthening this space, practitioners develop the ability to pause and take a breath before responding to a situation.
  • Truth – By increasing awareness, practitioners are better able to determine what is actually happening in different situations.
  • Anchoring – Mindful movement practitioners are less likely to be pulled in different directions by emotions because they are rooted in the present moment.
  • Physical Fitness – Focusing awareness allows for a deeper stretch in yoga while preventing injuries from over stretching.
  • Patience – Mindful movement is very relaxing for the mind and practitioners find they have more internal resources for the people around them.
  • Deeper Self Knowledge – One of the greatest benefits of quieting the mind is that inside that quiet moment our true selves emerge. The ego drops away, the false self created for the world drops away, and in that moment what is left is the pure and true self.

If you would like to experience mindful movement, you can incorporate it into your existing exercise or physical practice simply by directing your awareness to the various parts of your body – or you can join one of my Mindful Movement Yoga classes. Schedule of Classes

“I highly recommend Geva Salerno-Yoga. I’m building my core, becoming more centered and balanced and relaxed. I felt physically more agile after the first class. I love my hour for me!”
Lori Ricci

Yoga Student