However strong your practice, your mind has to be stronger
Relatively speaking, the physical practice of yoga is a piece of cake compared to the mental practice. Focus, concentration and meditation are tough; they certainly are for me. In this mad, busy world our minds rarely switch off and we have, what we call in yoga, a ‘monkey mind’. Whatever your role is in life, maybe you are a policeman, mother, doctor, student or publican, when does your mind relax?
Your body may be strong, but sometimes your mind my lack the same strength. This great quote sums up:
‘Toning the body without honing the mind is like letting a teenager drive your brand new Maserati. Sustainable fitness is achieved when as much attention is given to the vehicle as to the driver’.
One of my students told me last week that my yoga class was the only time in the week that she was able to completely forget about everything else; her mind was focused on her yoga and herself.
By focusing on your yoga practice, concentrating on how your body moves into and out of poses, clearing the mind to meditate for a few minutes, is all that it takes to learn to switch off your mind for a short time: to rest, to energise, to strengthen. Little by little you notice a change. You are calmer and have more control, both on and off the mat.
Think about the importance of yoga’s holistic approach; it works both the mind and the body. However, as with everything else, it takes practice, so don’t expect miracles to happen overnight!
The strength of the mind is amazing. If you can strengthen it, you can learn to switch it on to concentrate and focus, or switch it off to rest; a great advantage in our busy world.