Being YogaMarch 3, 2008
Finding your own true nature thru your yoga practice
In yoga the truest statement I have heard is that “we are who and what we think we are.” Our minds control our destiny and what we are today determines who we are tomorrow. What and who we were yesterday determines what and who we are today. If we want to change we have to somehow alter our thoughts. We need to work with our minds to produce change. In order for our ego to retreat from the forefront of our minds we need to provide it with a calm and stable environment. Easier said than done. Count on this change working very slowly over a long period of time.
The best way to slow down our thoughts is by practicing yoga asanas and meditation. Our egos are concerned with our outward demine. Get a new car and the ego is happy formulating new vistas to conquer. Start the search internally without any goals and the ego starts to slow down. The key here is the desire to bring about the best climate for change. As long as you can focus the desire on your practice and realize that the road is more important than the goal, you are going in the right direction.
Our bodies are the best vehicles for manifesting change in our minds. If we can slow down our bodies than we can slow down our minds. The right practice of yoga or tai chi is always done slowly with emphasis on fluid movements as if we were submerged in water. Here is where we make the connection between the mind and the body by working with the breath. I find that the best way to induce a calm mind is to focus on the breath as you either hold a posture or move from one posture to another. Don’t be in a hurry to get into your postures. The mind wants movement in order to formulate new ideas. By not being in a hurry you lay the groundwork for a calm mind. Practice moving as you witnesses your respiration. Always time the inhale with an expansive movement and always time the exhale with a contractive movement. Remember the speed of your respiration determines the speed of your movements and the speed of your inhales and exhales determines the calmness of your mind. In my practice I always try to ease into the postures as I witness my breath. Soon you get the sensation that you are not only witnessing the breath but also actually riding the breath thru your practice.
Now see if you can bring your meditation practice as close to your asana practice as possible. Your asana practice is a moving meditation on the breath. Your meditation is a static meditation on the breath. First practice your asanas, than move into savasana (corpse pose for at least 15 minutes. Again don’t be in a hurry with savasana). Now move into a meditation posture. Above all be sure that you are in a comfortable position. If you are uncomfortable your mind will be restless. In your meditation posture first find your breath. Once you have found it totally focus your concentration on it. Just witness yourself being breathed by your own breath. Stay with the whole inhalation and the whole exhalation. Try not to allow space to fill up with thoughts. Keep your focus. In time you feel as if the breath has stopped and you enter into a state of no thought.
In meditation mind body and soul come together. Once the mind has calmed and the body has relaxed, you get closer to your soul. As this happens you engage in a spiritual awakening in which you begin to manifest the attributes of your soul.