Mindful steps to take yoga into your daytime routine

Elena Gaietta has developed a unique yoga practice that brings mindfulness and calmness to everyday life.
She takes the practice of yoga and meditation off the mat and into unconventional situations such as dinners, tastings, fashion or art shows, corporate meetings and team building. Through a specific and tailored practice, she moves the physical senses to be open and responsive, the mind to be calm and deeply aware, the heart to be light and our inner being to connect with what we’re doing. We met her at Passalacqua for a morning yoga class overlooking Lake Como.

Here are Elena Gaietta’s tips for incorporating yoga into your daily routine

1. Try to create order in your life.
Choose 3-5 things you would like to tidy up, both materialistic and non-materialistic. A messy room or drawer, untidy or unhealthy meals, a dirty car or bike, an unresolved situation at work or in a relationship.
But deal with them one by one. And if you haven’t fixed the first one, don’t move on to the next one.

Yoga & Mindfulness Counselor Elena Gaietta in the garden of the Passalacqua Hotel on the shores of Lake Como.

2. Take 5 minutes for yourself every morning
Once you’ve started to get your life in order, you’re mentally ready to make a commitment. Start with yourself. Too often we’re so busy thinking about and taking care of others (our family, our job, our friends, our pets…) that we forget the first and most important thing: ourselves.
It doesn’t mean being selfish, it means the opposite: loving yourself.
Remember, it’s only by loving yourself that you will learn how to approach the world with kindness and acceptance.
So what can we do with these 5 minutes?
Do you meditate?
Of course I do! Most people say: “oh my God, it’s so hard to sit down because of the children, the husband, the noisy neighbour…”
Meditation is not just sitting still with your legs crossed.

Slowly waking up, feeling your sensations, gently opening the window and looking around, breathing deeply without thinking of all your duties, looking at yourself in the mirror and smiling to yourself. Care for your face, wash it gently and feel the sensation of fresh water on your skin.
That’s meditation too. So don’t start the day running, at least for 5 minutes.

3. Build a “ceremony” into your routine.
We sometimes seek perfection in our lives. Not perfection, but repetition is the key to well-being.
Seems boring? Only to the mind, which is forced and used to running.
When the mind slows down, you’ll be able to see clearly and make the right choices in your life. It’s up to you.
So start by creating a ceremony that you’ll try to repeat every day: tending to your flowers, doing some physical exercise, singing your favourite song, sending a nice message to someone you want to thank or apologise to.
But do it every day and always at the same time.

Elena Gaietta

4. Remember to breathe slowly
Breathing is a very natural action, so we are not used to concentrating on it. We don’t have to think about breathing, it happens automatically.
The problem is that in a very intense and busy life we don’t realise that we often use the upper part of our lungs to breathe, including the secondary breathing that we would only use to escape from dangerous situations.
So when you feel stressed, tired or exhausted, stop whatever you’re doing and breathe deeply. Let’s do it from the belly, then from the rib cage and finally from the chest. And exhale from top to bottom. Do this 3/5 times, slowly and deliberately.
Remember: The slower we breathe, the more we live. As we slow down our breathing, our mind slows down and our nervous system finally calms down.

5. One at a time
We live in a world of multitasking. On the one hand, it is a good exercise for our memory, for our mental flexibility. On the other hand, it’s very dangerous for our nervous system, which is overstressed if we overdo it.
So learn not to start a new thing until you’ve finished the first one. This will help you to cope with situations without being overwhelmed by them.

Our bucket bags are perfect Yoga bags. Buy HERE

6. Eat mindfully and silently
Half of our meals are spent socialising and talking all the time, the other half are spent eating quickly, perhaps thinking about what we’re going to do next… aren’t they?
Start by choosing one meal a week where you’ll eat slowly, without talking, and just concentrate on your food. On the food, its colour, smell, taste, shape, texture and the dish itself.
If you don’t live alone, it’s not a problem… you can even do it in a group of 100 people talking loudly. It’s just a question of concentration.

7. Smile more
A smiling face radiates positive energy. So smile to yourself first, every time you look in the mirror. Smile at people you don’t know every time you meet their eyes.

Yoga & Mindfulness Counselor Elena Gaietta in the garden of the Passalacqua Hotel on the shores of Lake Como.

8. Notice details
Let’s do this practice: every time you walk or drive on a very familiar route, like the way from your home to your office, set yourself the intention to find a new detail. Every day you should notice something different that you haven’t noticed before.

9. Learn to be grateful
We’re used to saying “thank you” when we’ve asked for something or when we’ve received something.
Learn to give thanks for things we take for granted, like our health, the house we live in, the day we’re enjoying.
The more you say thanks, the more your life will provide you with things to be grateful for.

Jasmin Khezri from IRMASWORLD and Elena Gaietta in the garden of the Passalacqua Hotel on the shores of Lake Como.