The mind is a beautiful playscape full of lovely and often chaotic thoughts. For many of us, our minds contain limitless ideas, agendas, and to do lists. It has been said many times throughout history that the mind is a terrible thing to waste. As people who are deeply committed to developing a mindfulness practice, we understand the power of our thoughts. Our thoughts can help us expand or build walls to block out people and opportunities. They even have the ability to encourage or dissuade us.
What does it mean to truly understand our minds? This notion is far more in-depth than any single blog post I could ever write. Therapists and counselors may spend years with patients to help them understand their minds and sort out their thoughts. Your mind is highly complex and should be treated as such. Many texts are available about the power of the mind, the mind-body connection, the mind-gut connection, and so on. Often, the ability to channel our thoughts can lead to better healing of whatever ailments we may be suffering from, which does not negate the fact that you should seek help if you do find your negative thoughts to be far too consuming. These tools are available to you as aids but may not be used as a band-aid but as coping mechanisms.
Being able to transmute your thoughts may take a long time. Developing this skill does not happen overnight, and there is no competition. Learning to do this is a lifelong process and essential to your yoga practice and development. Don't be afraid to advocate for yourself if you need help with your thoughts. Here are 5 steps to try as you make your way through your journey:
Find a Quiet and Safe Place to Sit - Sometimes, when our thoughts become overwhelming, it can be helpful to find a place to sit quietly.
Take a Deep Breath - Awareness of your breath is key to gaining control over your thoughts. Take a resounding round of breath in through your nose x sigh your breath out of your mouth.
Bring Your Awareness Towards Your Breath - Notice how your breath is flowing. Observe your breath to see if it is deep or shallow. Sit with your breath for as long as you need to connect. See if you can slow your breath down if it is rapid.
Notice Your Thoughts - You may find that you have many tabs open within your mind. Simply observe your thoughts without judging them. Do not try to push your thoughts away. Sit with them instead.
Shift Your Thoughts - Give yourself permission to observe your thought patterns. Notice any narratives or practices and interrupt these thoughts. There is no need to apply force here. Simply try to change your mind from a peaceful space.
Remember, this is only an exercise! You may always return to this practice, do not expect overnight results. Good luck!
Subscribe for more!
Photo: Ryan Grau