Putting yourself in a better state of mind is a good idea. It can change you physically and energetically, and people around you will begin to react to you more positively.
But how can you achieve a better state of mind?
The real reason that I turned to yoga and meditation is because I was young and internally lost. There was nothing to tether me to anything. Not work. Not family. Not culture. I was like a latchkey kid, but with the door unlocked. Perhaps everyone experiences this sort of discomfort when they’re young and thinking about their place in the world. Or more to the point, what is going on in this world?
At age 23, I walked into a yoga class, and when it ended, I was a different person – yet still the same. My mind was full of drama, but I knew that if I kept it up, there would be hope. It was true, in time my perspective did get stronger and I began to manage what I considered to be very serious, i.e. Life, what to do, what was important, and how to keep going for the long haul.
I still find that the primary reason I am drawn to yoga (and HIIT classes if I am being honest) is because of the positive effect it has on my mind. On my mindset. It’s no joke; it’s a serious matter.
The remarkably strong physique, youthful joint flexibility, and low blood pressure are side benefits that I experience as a result of practicing yoga asana. A regular and good quality yoga practice can help you achieve these benefits too. And don’t worry if you feel sheepish about your practice, by regular, I mean anything that is consistent. If you can only do a yoga class once a week or month, that’s good too. Of course, the more you practice, the more often you will experience and notice the results.
But what is critically important is the quality of your practice and regularity. At the very minimum, don’t delete yoga from your vision. Because if you keep it in mind, it will come back in the form of practice.
The physical body is a reflection of the mind. The physical movement that is called yoga, is a preparation we do for the body so that we can practice meditation. That is it. This is where the real benefit of the yoga asana practice begins.
Not beginning a meditation practice after you have been doing yoga for a while, is missing the point. It’s like going out for a really nice meal, where you are all dressed up, with your favorite person, and eating food that you do not know how to cook and then when it comes time for dessert, you pass. No sweets. No herbal tea. Nothing that helps make everything that came before easier. No natural high from eating well. The cultural equivalent to not valuing women or ignoring native people.
Research shows that there are many benefits to meditation and chanting. Tibetan monks who practice meditating on Love and Kindness have been studied, and their brain waves have been found to be abnormal. Monks have brains that are both highly awake and aware while at the same time quiet and relaxed. This is happening while they are meditating but also long after they are no longer in a state of meditation. This is an example of a good state of mind. This is also currently labeled as abnormal.
I have made two videos, keeping in mind that our state of mind is not yet abnormal:
- The first video is a 2-minute sitting meditation. I am sitting on the floor in my living room in Marin County, California, and I will be instructing you.
- This video is 20 minutes long, and I made it when I lived in Florence, Italy. I give a little instruction in the beginning on how to sit and be comfortable. Most of the sound is a recording of the sound of Buddhist Monks chanting Om (AUM) 108 times. You can chant silently or aloud.
Believing and beginning are the hardest parts of any shift. It’s a two-fold hurdle. One has to believe that something will be good, likable, or enjoyable before experiencing it. Finding time or the way to add it in is hard. My suggestion is not to overthink and just go for it.
Check out my yoga website to learn more about what I am teaching, my weekly live schedule and more here.