Yoga for the settled mind
“Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence.” ~ Patanjali
We all have an idea of what the mind is. It’s that thing in our heads that makes lots of thoughts. Lots of thoughts that whizz around all day, whisking us away on a merry (or often not so merry) dance. Driving us crazy, wearing us out, doing our heads in, making our brows furrow, making our breath shallow…..and sometimes we just want them to stop. Sometimes we want some of those 50,000 daily thoughts to just leave us alone. Sure, we need to think things through, to make plans, basically to do anything cognitive, but my goodness me, if we could weigh the amount of un-necessary, incessant thoughts we have, we might start to see why we can’t see clearly sometimes, why we feel foggy or why we feel like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders.
It’s a crazy world, with theses billions of crazy minds creating these thousands of crazy thoughts. It’s no wonder that even as a collective we can’t hear anymore, we’ve lost our way. But before we take on the world, or even our day, we have a very lovely self to look after and that well-deserved peace in our own mind to discover. Today, now, right this moment, we can take a stand, we can step into our power and vow to recognise our mind as a tremendous and powerful tool rather than the ‘drunken monkey’ or the ‘wild roaming tiger’ that led us astray on that merry dance.
In the teaching of yoga, more often than not, people arrive hoping to slow their minds and thoughts down. They desperately want some peace and some space. ‘Aargh if only we had more time’, they all call in unison. And, before we even begin, I let them into a simple secret. We actually have a massive chunk of time and energy that we are wasting and that is absolutely exhausting…..yes, it is those 48,000 pesky, un-necessary thoughts and ruminations confusing us and weighing us down.
Moreover, a huge seismic shift occurs from the very simple realisation that WE ARE NOT OUR THOUGHTS. So, please do not sell yourself short in life. Please don’t be constantly tricked by the allure of that latest thought trying to tempt you with exciting fantasies of the future, or those pulling you into obsessing about the past, those putting you down or telling you that you can’t…….Instead, step into your power and recognise that we are not that ‘drunken monkey’, we are not that ‘wild roaming tiger’, we are not those fields of energy cycles that show up in the brain scans. We are much, much more than that. We are much more powerful than that, we are much more beautiful than that.
Thankfully, this profound piece of what should be basic self-knowledge is becoming more well-known with the popularity of meditation, yoga, eastern philosophy and mindfulness, but it still surprises me when I speak to students and they really think they are their thoughts. One student said to me once ‘but what am I, if I am not my thoughts?’ They were even a little scared to let go of the idea that they were their thoughts. They were scared of what lay beneath the thoughts, they were scared of that entity, that space that thoughts arise in. With a gentle hug to soften their fears, I pointed out that the space, that entity that lies beneath their thoughts is both, amazing and beautiful. And, that space, that they are scared of, is actually themselves.
Dr Jeannine Goh is a psychologist, writer and dedicated yoga teacher. She runs the Thursday ‘Yoga for the Mind’ class (8-9pm) at Yoga Central. In the class she has developed breath-led, slow-flowing moon salutation sequences to allow you to glimpse and gain access to that space that lies beneath the busy mind whilst strengthening and gently stretching your body. You can also subscribe to her forthcoming yoga blog at http://www.awespace.org/blog and look out for the Yoga for the mind Facebook page.Yoga