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Yoga: It's All in Your Mind
Page 2: Passive Mind/Active Asana

The whole key to keeping mind passive and in its place is to just do the Asanas. Period. Forget about everything else. When you are concentrated on a task — any task — the past and future fall away. You stop worrying and daydreaming. Your focus is on Right Now. Luckily, every single Asana is so complicated that there is no time to focus on anything but the pose. If you are moving easily into each posture and your mind is drifting off elsewhere, then you are not doing the pose properly — not even if it looks flawless from the outside. There is always some part of a pose you can be working on. Take the always-reliable Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana), for example — just about every muscle in your body is engaged, from your toes and calves, up through the abdomen, into your shoulders, arms and fingertips. Your head is hanging loosely, but you need to make sure there is no tension whatsoever in your neck. There is so much to feel while practicing Down Dog that your mind should have no room for extraneous thoughts. Another complicated pose that requires all your attention is Mountain — again, every muscle in your body is engaged and you need to be very aware, on the lookout for any unwanted tension, striving for complete balance (and you thought Mountain was just about good posture!).

(Article continued below.)

You may have noticed that these are very basic poses — they're poses you do during nearly every Yoga session. They condition your body and improve your posture, but just as importantly they condition your mind and your ability to keep it still, centered and focused. The more one-pointed your attention becomes, the more you will progress in your Yoga practice. You will then be able to work on the more challenging poses with impeccable intent and integrity. Training your mind to stay focused during Yoga has many unexpected benefits, too. When you are talking to someone, you will actually hear what he or she is saying — you will be totally present during the conversation. You will work more efficient and have more energy at the end of the day. You will notice delightful little details that you never saw before when you go on a walk outside. The cashier at the market checkout counter won't have to repeat the total amount because you didn't get it the first time! All this — and much more — can come once your mind learns its proper place.

The mind is like a bad boss, and it's time to relieve it of many of its imagined responsibilities. It may balk at first and try to argue, but persist in your attempts at becoming focused. Once your mind lets go and is able to relax, a world of possibilities open up. The important thing is to take action. Don't think about it — do it now!

Previous page >> What's Wrong With an Active Mind? Where Do We Start? >> Page 1, 2

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