Why might awareness of the moment or mindfulness, as it is now popularly known, be a good thing for a retired person? The techniques of mindfulness and its link to yoga, which I will describe in a moment, have a calming and relaxing effect on the mind and for many of us in reirement, this in itself can be a ‘good thing’. Mindfulness also encourages a heightened awareness of the present moment, in other words it resists an inclination of some retired people to look back perhaps with a wistful nostalgia and / or to look forward perhaps with anxiety. So any opportunity to be in the here and now, any inclination to focus on the present should be encouraged.
Both terms, awareness and minfulness are used extensively these days and not just by yoga teachers and practitioners. It probably isn’t possible or desirable to be fully mindful or aware of our every action. In my own practice I try to stay focused and be mindful or aware of working slowly with my breath as I move from posture to posture and to remind myself that I am in the here and now almost as if each new posture is a new beginning.
Keep the practice simple, achievable and enjoyable. I am suggesting the ‘cat’ pose (see below) as a basis for this minfulness activity. It’s a pose which can be practised safely by people of all abilities.
Start by kneeling on something comfortable, hands below your shoulders, knees below your hips, well-balanced and with the spine passive. Keep your eyes closed and your mouth closed. As you inhale through the nose be aware of the length of your breath as you raise your head up and form a concave shape with your spine. As you exhale be aware of the opposite movement, lowering your head and arching your spine (cat like). Work in harmony with mind, body and breath. Repeat as often as feels comfortable then rest and reflect while in the pose of the child.