We all know that mindfulness is the key to becoming aware of your thoughts and helping to relax that monkey mind. But it is through yoga, that you will find a way to allow your physical and mental self to find rest. Yoga is like your toolbox for building stillness and a calm mind.
Each day, around 70,000 thoughts run through our mind. That is a LOT of thoughts! Have a think about what has occupied your thoughts in the last hour or two. While some of it may be deep thought, ponderings or creative thinking, I imagine that a lot of it is the monkey mind running wild! We are bombarded with a constant stream of thoughts about conversations we have had (or are yet to have), doubts and fears, keeping up with deadlines and stressing over the to-do list. Add to this the bombardment of social media that invades our reasoning, and you have one very busy head!
It’s no wonder we feel overloaded, stressed and distracted. We all struggle to quiet the mind as we keep up with our busy lives.
If you are seeking a calmer mind and body, then these elements of yoga will help you get there.
The asanas or postures help bring us out of our mind and allow us to focus on the physical movement. By linking your breath to these movements, you can increase attention into the body and away from the mind. When you focus on the actual task at hand, you are more likely to decrease thoughts of the past of the future.
Meditation helps to focus the mind. Direct your attention to the breath as you meditate, and you will notice that you are creating fewer thoughts. You may even get to the point where there are gaps between the thoughts as you find stillness in the mind. It is easy to get to a meditative state during yoga. Whether you are able to do this during the asanas, or when you finally come to rest in Shavasana at the end of the class.
Despite all of the calm that yoga offers, there are often many days when our mind goes into overdrive during class. You may hear that internal conversation about whether or not you are doing the pose correctly, noticing how flexible the person next to you is or pushing yourself too hard in a pose. Don’t fight these thoughts, instead, just let it be. Yoga is your journey, and the greatest thing you can do for yourself is to stay present to where you are on the mat at that moment.
Why do we want to quiet our mind?
All those thoughts that spin around in your head are doing nothing more than distracting you. They cause you to worry about things that haven’t happened yet and overthink situations that have already passed. You begin to doubt yourself when thoughts constantly focus on potential negative situations, obsess over every spoken word or the minute details of your relationships or interactions.
When we quiet the mind, we also declutter our mind. And when we declutter our mind, we declutter our lives. Instead of being in a lower vibration of the monkey mind, we can shift to a higher vibration where we are connected to intuition. When we worry less about the small stuff or the things we cannot change, we can easily find peaceful solutions. When we move away from overthinking every situation, we find confidence in ourselves that leads to feeling more grounded and inflow.
Today, be aware of your thoughts. When you notice that your mind is racing, stop and take a moment. Close your eyes and breathe. As you do, notice the breath entering your lungs and filling your abdomen. As your belly rises and falls, notice your mind becoming quieter.
Why not make this a daily habit? Each day, take time out for a slow, nourishing breath practice. You don’t have to be in a yoga class, you can do this anywhere at any time. As you move away from a busy mind 24/7, you will feel the peace entering your mind and your daily life.