Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Mindfulness-Mindful of your thoughts

Yogis call it 'monkey mind' - our minds flit from one thought to another like a monkey jumping from tree to tree. It happens in meditation and in asana practice. How can we avoid this? In truth we cannot. Our minds were designed to think but there are strategies we can use to calm our monkey mind and by doing so reduce our stress levels. 

Firstly we can be fully focused on the sensations of a pose, or the effect the pose has on the breath. Also, If our minds start to flit between thoughts we can become aware of them, label them then let them go. Another technique is to use a mantra to 'block out' our thoughts. 

Similar techniques can be used in meditation that is we can focus on the breath, or a mantra and let thoughts go as they arise without becoming involved in them. 

This week's video which can be found on my YouTube channel is 'Mindfulness-Mindful of your thoughts'-https://youtu.be/fvxAUL0Xyoc. In it we bring awareness to our negative thoughts, gain strength in our bodies in order to strengthen our resolve to let the thoughts go (when the body is strong, so is our mind because of the mind-body connection), and develop a vision of what it will be like when we are free of negative thoughts.  

We can only bring awareness to our thoughts if we have calm minds. A calm mind is a clear mind- you must have experienced being flustered and not being able to think straight. We can do this with inversions which bring blood to the brain which is calming for the mind. 
We can also twist out toxins which stress the body.  

The strengthening poses we practice include Locust Pose (strengthens the back), Dolphin Pose (strengthens the arms and shoulders) and the Warrior Poses (strengthen the legs).  

To deepen our vision of what it will be like once we have let go of negative thoughts, we do some eye exercises and practice Eagle Pose. The Sanskrit word for Eagle Pose is garudasana which translates as 'pose of the destroyer'. The hope is that practicing the pose will help 'destroy' our negative thoughts. Eagles also have exceptional vision which will help us develop a vision of what it will be like to be free of negative thoughts.

To end our practice, we do an autumn meditation in which visualise our negative thoughts being carried away on autumn leaves which have fallen on a river. 

Janet x

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