While there are some differences between yoga and mindfulness meditation from the Buddhist tradition, these two practices are undeniably synergistic and seemingly interchangeable. Mindfulness is the ability to maintain attention on a specific meditative object (e.g., breath, mantra), with emphasis on returning to beneficial (versus negative) thoughts. Mindfulness can be practiced in a more traditional way by sitting in a quiet space with eyes closed for a certain amount of time, as well as during a yoga class with focus on breath and movement while holding and transitioning from one pose to the next. Yoga mindfulness meditation facilitates increased awareness of present-moment experiences, rather than resisting or trying to clear the mind of uncomfortable thoughts, emotions, or sensations. In this way, mindfulness meditation can help the student learn how to disengage from evaluative or critical thinking by cultivating an attitude of curiosity and attention to ongoing reactions to emotions, thoughts, and feelings and ultimately minimizing suffering with increased clarity of reality.
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