6 Tips to Silence your Mind During Yoga
How many times have you been doing yoga or been in a yoga class and thought about how much money you could have saved if you just stayed home last weekend? How you should really buy that eco-friendly yoga mat or a random song humming in your head? How the teacher is doing so well or wow I can’t believe I’m doing this pose so well!
Well, surely some variation of these thoughts has crossed your mind in the middle of an asana.
Living in a busy world, with tons of responsibilities to fulfil and remember all the mental notes we have made, our mind has forgotten what being quiet is like. But as simple as the words “silence your mind” sound, it’s very tricky. With our shrinking attention spans, paying attention to the present moment seems like hard work. That’s why it is much more complex to actively silence your mind.
So just like your yoga exercise mat makes doing the exercises so much easier for you, here are a few pointers that will help your mind be quiet during yoga; a yoga mat for your mind if you will:
STOP RESISTING YOUR THOUGHTS
This is a very useful tip, in terms of mindfulness. You will often hear your yoga teacher say “clear your mind, don’t think; just relax”. And as these words fall upon your ears, you begin to actively stop yourself from thinking. But trying not to think is thinking! Your mind is not clear or relaxed. In fact, it is stressed and worried. This is a major inhibitor of silencing your mind.
Yoga is about relaxation and growth and good energy; it is about allowing rather than resisting. When you resist your thoughts you counter the purpose of yoga.
OBSERVE YOUR THOUGHTS
Once you stop resisting your thoughts, start observing them. Start observing your breath and how it interacts with your thoughts. Observe how each breath flows in and out of your body. What kind of thought each breath invokes and how they make you feel. Good, light or positive thoughts will make you feel comfortable; observe this feeling. Bad, heavy or negative thoughts will make you feel uncomfortable; observe the discomfort. As you sit or lay still on your thick yoga mat, your thoughts and feelings begin to surface; all you have to do is observe!
VISUALISATION IS THE BEST SHORTCUT
While observing your thoughts, it is possible that you get carried away by how they make you feel. This is completely normal. If you feel like you’re unable to still your mind, start visualizing that you can. Visualization eases the processed of yoga and being mindful. It helps in creating an analogy for your mind so that it may attain stillness.
For example, imagine your mind is a beautiful lake and your thoughts are fish that are just swimming by and you simply watch them. You don’t interact with them, but just watch and observe.
Another example is to visualize your thoughts to be traffic passing by. You aren’t part of it, but just watching the traffic going by.
Visualization is the easiest way to gain some control over what your mind is doing. It is engaging and a major aid in preventing your mind from wandering or dazing.
Breath is a vital element in yoga and a yogi’s best friend. This may seem like a mundane thing to do at first, but this is a real game changer. Breath control is the greatest way to attain mindfulness and to silence all those thoughts. Every breath brings in a message; that of life and sustenance. Start observing how each life enriching breath makes you feel. Every time you inhale observe your ribs expanding and filling you up with delicious energy. And every time you exhale, observe the contraction and how you let all that you don’t need out of your system.
SPEND SOME TIME TO PREP
When it’s time for your yoga class or your personal yoga session, start prepping yourself before you start exercising. This is why you must look to invest in your yoga apparel and a mat (you can buy the clothes and exercise mats online too). It gives you a sense of commitment and importance; you will feel completely in it.
Set up your yoga exercise mat and give yourself a few minutes to prep before you begin. This will not only help you be on time but also help your mind to absorb the fact that it is about to begin now. This is the only time in the whole day that your mind can detach from all the worldly chaos and be one with the body. It is the only time where you can shut everything else down and just focus on your breath, your feelings and your energy; make every moment count.
PATIENCE IS KEY
All good things to those who wait. Your thought patterns, anxieties and restlessness are a product of years of programming. So teaching your mind to forget all of this and re-wire your flow thoughts, will take time. Therefore, treat yourself with patience and give our mind the time and space it needs to unlearn. Allow it to grow and learn at its own pace. Fighting or forcing it to happen will just make everything that much more tedious. Don’t fight or force it, just allow.
Our minds are just like puppies, eager to learn, grow and keen on running free. But just like puppies, our minds need to be trained too and that takes time and patience. You have trained your mind to think and think for years so it is only natural for it to take some time to unlearn the old patterns. So give it that time and some love. With consistent effort and a little bit of perseverance you will soon notice the gentle peace and quiet your mind will bring to you.