The art of self-awareness can be explored in a number of ways. When we choose to take a deeper look at ourselves we are actively engaging in a thoughtful process aimed at uncovering our true intent and impact on the world. This process can be incredibly powerful, especially if we approach it with openness and gratitude for our own internal feedback.
One should find their own path to uncovering mindfulness as not everybody will draw inspiration from the same energy sources. In yoga, we can explore our mindfulness and true intent by turning inward before and during our practice. Sometimes, the process of mindfulness simply requires a moment of silence, accompanied by deep, methodical breaths and an internal examination of our state of being. We can use the breath to turn inward by observing the flow of air in through the nose, down the throat, filling the lungs, and filling the belly, then back out again. This wave-like movement of the breath, and gentle observation of the Prana (energy) entering our bodies allows us to calm the mind, turn inward, and focus on the present moment.
Once we have found this quiet, almost meditative state, we can begin our yoga practice and observe ourselves from the inside out. As we flow through our movements, we watch the body glide into asanas, adjust its alignment, find its comfortable place, and settle into the pose as the breath and Prana allow us to just be. We can become our own best observers in this state, gaining a deep understanding of our own bodies and minds.
This observance does not come easy. It can be difficult to remain focused while our bodies search for their comfort zones. We can become distracted by those around us or our own thoughts. It's okay to let the mind wander so long as once we realize the drift, we bring our focus back to the breath, to the internal examination. Eventually, we realize we are no longer observing our yoga practice, but rather we are uncovering a deep internal examination of our true being.
As we discover this next step, we begin to realize that internal feedback is extremely difficult, especially if we seek out the most negative aspects of our personalities or abilities then quickly spiral into telling ourselves we are not good enough. Remember, the simple act of even just starting to look inward suggests we are incredible, essential, emotional, and exceptional human beings. We will give ourselves gratitude simply for engaging in the process, then - from a place of strength and forgiveness for even our strongest flaws - we begin the process of acceptance and change. If we examine ourselves from this state, we can release self doubt and regret and empower ourselves to learn from our mistakes and evoke positive motions in their stead.
Quieting the mind, examining, and feeling the moment we are in from the inside out raises our awareness of who we are, our true intent, and our most important relationship: the one with ourself.