In the second sutra of his principal book, Patanjali defines yoga as “control of the modifications of the mind field”. It means that when we are on the mat, our goal is to stop the everlasting inner dialog, control the process of thinking and manage our own mind. This is what is most important; not being able to assume sophisticated postures. It is in Savasana when you start to understand that yoga is not just a set of stretching exercises, as it may seem at first. Making your body healthier and stronger, which is achieved through physical aspects of yoga (asanas), is only the tip of the iceberg. A preparation stage necessary for practicing at a higher level. Savasana is the first step leading to that level.
Longing for “Something More” and How Yoga Can Help
One of my students came up to me the other day and said she felt a deep longing in her heart – a pain of emptiness — and sensed that there must be “something more” to life than what she was aware of. She shared with me that she loved her husband, her job, and her friends, but still felt an ache in her heart as if “something were missing” and she was confused by that. It didn’t make sense. Have you ever felt this way, longing for something more, and not sure what exactly you were longing for?
Mindfulness for Modern Day Yogis
A recent survey conducted by Microsoft concluded that human beings now have a shorter attention span than goldfish. The average human attention span according to this survey was eight seconds, down from twelve seconds in the year 2000 1. Most human beings in the modern world are living with an overly stimulated nervous system. Does this sound like you? Are you plagued by a mind that’s always thinking? Are you torn between several competing thoughts, projects, or web sites all at the same time? Do you go to yoga class to stop the constant spinning of your thoughts, and calm the habitual stress response to life? Are you hungry to find a way to carry the benefits of your yoga practice – peace, clarity, calm and presence — off your mat and into life?
The Daily Motivation to Meditate
So you’ve found your technique, bought the cushion and marked out a spot in the living room. In some ways meditation is not the hard bit; yogis tell us it is our natural state of mind to be still, present and content. No, often the hardest part is the motivation to make it part of our daily life. To just sit. We read how good meditation and mindfulness are for us, we even begin to experience it, but still sometimes the will is lacking. Take an inspiration a day as the motivation to sit, walk, breath – or however you bring yourself towards stillness.
What to Do with Thoughts During Savasana?
At the beginning of his ‘Yoga Sutras’, Patanjali gives the following definition: ‘Yoga is the restraint of mind fluctuations’. Here ‘mind’ is understood as the totality of such processes as observation, reasoning, evaluation, and memorisation. It operates in terms of a person’s individual characteristics: feelings, emotions, desires, memory, and intelligence. It turns out that, in fact, Yoga is the ability to sort things out in one’s head rather than the ability to perform intricate poses. Let’s try understand why this is so important and how to curb these ‘mind fluctuations’.