Yoga is mastery over the roaming tendencies of the mind.
Attention is a rare commodity these days, and we have to work hard to cultivate a mind-state of paying attention to what is in front of us. I’ve been thinking about this more recently with the arrival of spring. Walking with my dog, I’ve been trying to pay close attention to everything around me: the fresh, green leaves of the ferns; the daffodils pushing up out of the ground; the cherry blossoms exploding into color; and the smell of freshly mown grass. The list goes on and on, and it seems as though the more I listen and watch, the brighter and more vivid the experience becomes.
In yoga, this is part of our everyday practice. We use breath, asanas, and meditation practices to create the conditions we need to really pay attention to our experience as it unfolds, to get quiet and present in our own bodies without all of the daily distractions that challenge this, and to observe the beauty that has the opportunity to arise when everything gets really quiet-when we overcome ‘the roaming tendencies of the mind’. This practice is vital for our health and well-being. It gives our bodies a chance to reset and re-balance in the midst of the busyness of our lives and helps the nervous system integrate all of our life experience so that we can re-enter our day with brighter and renewed energy.
As you celebrate spring this year, we invite you to drop in to The Yoga Garden and practice paying attention; the more we are each able to hone this skill, the better. Sometimes the problems of the world can feel overwhelming, but as Gandhi said, “We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.” Rather than looking outside for solutions, we can look inside. We are all role models for each other. What kind of world would you like to see?