Mindful Capoeira

Mindfulness 

noun

  1. the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something.
  2. Psychology.
    a. a technique in which one focuses one's full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them: The practice of mindfulness can reduce stress and physical pain.
    b. the mental state maintained by the use of this technique.

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What do you first think of when I mention Mindfulness?  Meditation, sitting, closed eyes maybe?  Maybe not.  In the last ten years or so, our acceptance and understanding of mindfulness has come a long way and its normal to practice meditation and mindful activities without having to shave your head and head out on a retreat.  It’s something that we hear about daily and something that we can all benefit from when practiced regularly.

Our lives are so busy.  We are constantly running from one moment to the next.  I wonder how many times in a day you are still.  I’m not talking just about your body, but your mind also.  It’s possible to be in motion whilst settling and creating clarity in your mind.  To be mindful of where you are and with what you are doing.  Making space to hear the noises around you, to smell aromas and other physical sensations that would be easy to miss without making ourselves stop and listen with all of our senses.  Really listen.

Capoeira is a perfect activity to delve further into mindfulness.  Capoeira creates constant motion.  You are consistently moving from one move to the next in, hopefully, smooth transitions.  The very nature of these movements makes it hard to think of anything else and forces you into a mindful state without having to try very hard.  This makes it a great introduction to mindfulness and how to apply it without much effort.

When you start to consciously look within to apply purpose to your movements it will take your bodies abilities to another level.  This applies both when you are training alone, working with sequences and also when you engage in the capoeira game.

It promotes clarity and enlightenment.  The longer that you stay in that moment the longer you can reap the benefits and the faster you are able to return to that place when apply your mindful practice.

Your heightened and focused senses will be able to perform better.  You will be able to react quicker.  You can focus on your breathing and understand better the air coming in and going out.  This, in turn, will help you play capoeira for longer.  It will help to increase your stamina and improve your fitness.

Capoeira is also grounding.  We are physically connected to our earths forces, most of which are communicated through our feet.  Practicing barefoot brings another level of understanding of the energy available to us and balance through proper use of our feet.

Try this activity : 

Focus your gaze on a point or a person and don’t take your eyes off that point at anytime.

Now, ginga, sway from side to side and at any point go to the floor, keep your eyes locked in, but listen to your body when you make that connection with the floor.  Notice all the points of contact, through your hands, your feet, possibly your head.

Keep those movements simple, transitioning from standing to floor to standing creating a conscious flow, trusting that the floor is there to support you as you move.

If you’ve never tried this before you might find yourself looking at the floor as you plant a hand.  Try to keep that focus locked in and listen, feel those sensations as you move.

You will gain another level of understanding and you’ll be able to challenge yourself further.

This is just the start of this practice... I can’t wait to share more.

I’d love to know how you apply a mindful approach to your capoeira practice.  Send me your thoughts to info@brazilarte.org