Many people are confused about yoga. They think we are trying to do the impossible – erase all thought from the mind. However, in yoga we are not so much trying to control the mind as we are trying to calm the mind. Our thoughts flit around in our minds like a monkey, but we are striving to be still like a koala bear calmly sitting in the tree.
Consider the art of advertising. Think of a time when you have been calmly sitting and watching a little television without any feelings of hunger or discontent of any kind. What happens when a commercial for food comes on the television? Immediately you find yourself trying to calm the mind. You fight to assure yourself that you are not hungry at all. You tell yourself that you do not need the food that was suggested. However, it is very difficult to bring the mind back to its original peaceful state without giving in to the desire it thinks it needs.
In yoga we practice calming the mind. We strive to be in a state of presence at all times so that we are more aware when these sneak attacks are being made on our psyche. We become aware of irrational thoughts such as fear, anger, jealousy and malcontent. We train ourselves to think and act from our true nature which is love.
Practice first and foremost. Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory. Yoga is not just the physical postures or asana. Yoga is not reading and memorizing the yamas and nyamas. It is not reading the Yoga Sutras. Have you ever met someone who could quote scripture and never missed a Sunday service, but whose daily life was full of hatred or inappropriate living? Christianity means nothing without putting Jesus’ teachings into action. Yoga works the same way. It does us no good to go to class and do the most beautiful and challenging balances if we get up after class and gossip about the lady on the mat next to us. Yoga is putting all that we know about good and righteous living into practice! ❤️