Our studio is made up of unique brewery spaces that we love. Sometimes those places are noisy because we’re in the taphouse or even right where the beer is being made. Either way, it can help us grow a more grounded and focused yoga practice. So what do you do when you’re on your mat and the sounds start distracting your thoughts?
As soon you start paying attention to the breath, a lot of things get quieter and you stop unintentionally seeking distractions from other senses. Here are some options:
1. Start counting!
An average breath is very short and shallow. When you extend your inhale/exhale to 3 seconds each, it gets a little deeper. As you repeatedly count out the breath cycle, not only will the brewery sounds drift away but you will also get more oxygen into the body which has all kinds of health benefits! (Your brain and your muscles LOVE oxygen.)
2. Engage Ujjayi breath.
Ujjayi is a little noisier than what you normally do and a great place to focus because of the sound it makes and the attention it requires to keep it engaged.
Ujjayi is simple to do once you hear someone do it. The best way to describe it is that you make a constriction in the back of your throat to make your breath sound like the ocean. It’s very similar to the strong exhale you use to fog up the bathroom mirror mixed with a long heavy sigh out the nose. (Ask one of our Yoga + Beer teachers if you want to make sure you’re doing it right!)
Focus on your feet
Sometimes counting the breath isn’t enough or perhaps it’s too distracting in itself. That’s when your feet come in handy! We’re on them for the majority of the flow portion of our practice. Are they cold? Are the warm? Are your toes gripping the mat? You have three arches in your feet, try to keep them active. This can happen by just lifting all your toes. Feel free to give it a try whenever your mind wanders to the beeping sound of the forklift backing up at Gilgamesh!
Drink a beer
We all have evenings where our brains want to do anything but focus. Those are the days when you hear the brewery sounds the most. Don’t get frustrated! In that situation, try stimulating another one of your senses. Take a sip of that nice dark porter sitting at the top of your yoga mat. (Water works great too!) And whatever you choose to drink, fully enjoy it in that moment and pay attention to the flavors. Then take a deep breath and come back to your mat.
(I originally wrote this article for www.cheersandnamaste.com)