Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Maintaining Mindfulness

While engaging in my yoga practice this morning I noticed a lot of "buzzing" in our mind. You know, those constant thoughts that flit from one thing to another rather than focusing on the task at hand. I found myself thinking of the next pose, thinking about how rough and unpleasant my morning started out, what was the pose after the next, and so on. This buzzing called me to attention as I realized that I was not focusing on my yoga practice, instead I was feeding distractions attention and merely making it worse. At the point that I got to my rotation of Tadasana into Trikonasana & Chandrasana (on both sides) I decided to take some meditative action to bring my awareness back to the present moment and on what I was doing. Since my mind was buzzing and focusing on unpleasant things the imagery that came to mind was the top of a pond that had a sort of scum on it. I mentally skimmed the surface and then threw a rock into the pond to disturb any remnants of my "scummy thoughts" and clear the surface. The rock sank down to the pond's bottom and the ripples subsided. I felt my mind calm a bit.

Focusing on small meditations to alleviate "mental buzzing" can be affective, but sometimes it still pulls us away from the "here & now" (which is the only place we are ever truly at, and thus is a place we need to actively be a part of!)

As I found my mind buzzing again, though not as much as before, I pulled my awareness "into" the pose I was doing at the moment. For example, I got to Viparita Karani (my second to last pose) and focused on the sensation of my legs against the wall, of the blood feeling as if it was receeding like a tide, my head on the pillow, and my arms gently relaxed at my sides. Pulling one's awareness into what one is doing to really "feel" the moment brings awareness and a greater sense of peace. The key is not to interfere, but to observe. As I moved to a variation of Savasana, which is a restorative pose, I noticed my heart rate was much quicker than it normally was for this posture. I considered the fact that I had just gotten up and moved across the room from one asana to the next and instead of remaining alarmed at my "doing the pose wrong" I chose to merely observe and allow it pass. I took a few extra seconds in the pose facing both directions and found myself and my heart rate back to where it usually was at the end of the pose.

Control is a dangerous thing and often inhibits us from really "being" in the moment. We wish things to be a certain way because of expectations rather than allowing things to just be. This control causes a struggle with us against the world, and we go from being and existing to pulling and pushing. This causes mental as well as physical strain on our minds and bodies and depletes our energy stores. So next time you feel flustered or frustrated that things are not going as planned. Or you find yourself endlessly running through thoughts and lists as you perform some task take a mental step backwards from yourself. See what you are doing mentally versus physically and let them re-integrate so that you are focusing on the task at hand and being present.

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