Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Qualities cultivated by yoga - mental clarity

Please click on the video below to watch, 'Qualities cultivated by yoga - mental clarity'-on my YouTube Channel.

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Mental clarity is difficult in our culture.  We are encouraged to be busy all the time and this results in our minds being busy.  'Monkey mind' is a Buddhist term meaning that your thoughts flit from one thought to another like a monkey swinging through a tree and this can lead to an anxious, confused state of mind.  Through yoga however we can create mental clarity.  If you imagine your busy mind creating a cloudy window of your mind, yoga can clear the 'window of your mind' so that you can see things more clearly.

Yoga can calm your mind in several ways.  Yoga helps create alpha brain waves, the type of dominant brain wave that coresponds to a calm yet alert state.  Yoga also boosts levels of GABA, gamma-animobutyric acid, a neutrotransmitter in the brain that promotes feelings of calm.  In terms of our asana practice we can calm our mind through slowing down and being in the present moment.  Egyptian salutations are ideal for calming your mind.  The salutation is a series of slow, rhythmical movements.  You need to be focused to maintain the flow and while you are focused on the flow, your mind cannot be flitting from one thought to another.  Balances have a similar effect.  In terms of your yoga asana practice also opening your chest with back bends and twists, expands the lungs bringing more oxygen into the body.  The brain is 'oxygen hungry' so the extra oxygen is very calming for the brain. Inversions can help circulate the oxygen rich blood to your brain.  Any asana practice however will calm the mind because it brings attention away from your head and into your body. Pranayama pratice is also good for calming the brain- again it requires focused attention and enriches the blood with oxygen.  

Meditation is another 'tool' for calming the mind.  It allows you to let go of your thoughts and be in the present moment.  Our meditation this week is a little different.  I am using a Himalayan singing bowl to help induce calming alpha waves in our minds.  These can be purchased for £10-20 and as well as their use in meditation they can be used to clear any negative energies from a room.

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