Mind Yoga: Master Your Mind, Master Your Life
Everyone is faced with challenges and obstacles throughout their lives and on their path to fulfillment, happiness and success. It’s not what happens to us in life that determines our outcomes, but rather how we respond to what happens to us. Having a knee-jerk emotional reaction to the challenges in life can create disappointing results. When we take a moment to process these challenges, and “choose” an appropriate response, we are more likely to make a wise decision.
In the human brain, when we have stress and experience the emotion of fear, our body sends out a massive amount of adrenaline into our system. This actually shuts down our logical thinking frontal lobe. Therefore, when fear rises, intelligence plummets. When you look back, can you match some of your worst decisions with a highly emotional state?
Meditation is a practice where you learn to “observe” your thoughts and emotions. As you do this, you can slowly begin to detach and analyze them so that you can slow down and make better decisions. The longer you meditate, the more that you’ll realize that while you can “have” emotions, you don’t need to “be” your emotions. This is a powerful distinction that builds your emotional intelligence.
We practice emotional intelligence when we allow ourselves to feel an emotion and then choose how we want to process and respond to that emotion. This allows us to create a more proactive response. The quality of our life depends on the quality of our perspective. When we are open-minded and willing to put our ego to one side, we can change the way we look at our life’s challenges. Meditation gives you the flexibility to change your perspective on life’s events.
A small adjustment in perspective may give you the power to make a dramatic and positive change in your life’s experiences.
Achieve Mental Strength
We are constantly bombarded with negative messages from the world. If we let these messages control and affect our own thoughts, then we too are letting the outside world control our thoughts. We end up having thoughts which are not actually ours. They are the thoughts of our culture, our society and of our environment. If you have any contact whatsoever with the daily news, internet news, newspapers of any kind or radio, you will be continually attacked with messages of negativity and fear. One would think that the world was always coming to an end! Unfortunately, disaster and bad news sells.
Creative and successful people have learned to monitor, control and choose their thoughts. This requires mental strength and mental discipline. They choose thoughts that support their visions and their dreams. They discard thoughts that are fear-based, negative and unproductive. This makes them original thinkers, innovators and leaders. Meditation is an effective practice for learning mental discipline.
It always amazes me how many people have discipline in so many areas of their life (their diet, their fitness and their schedule); however, few people practice any form of mental discipline – which is what really determines the outcomes and results that we have. The quality of your thoughts, determines the quality of your life.
Master your mind and you master your life! Successful, happy and balanced people have mental discipline, mental flexibility and mental strength. Just as your yoga practice helps you to create physical strength and flexibility, meditation assists you in developing mental flexibility and strength. When practiced with patience and persistence, meditation is the tool that will help you to master these areas as well.
4 Yoga Postures to Balance Your Emotions
Yoga has the power to unlock, heal and balance your emotions. For those of you who have a regular practice, you can probably attest to lying down in Savasana with tears streaming down your face or smiling so hard your face hurts.
Whether the energy of the Black Water Snake or just a change in the energetic system as a whole, 2013 has already been a year of intense change and momentum for many of us. By default we have been given the space to finally make peace with the inconsistencies, loose ends, relationships that no longer serve and things that we have been putting off in our lives.
With change this compelling, emotions are inevitable and what can be difficult is maintaining balance without letting yourself get swayed or uprooted. If you experience anxiety, depression (even on a mild level), lack of confidence, worthlessness or any of the other yucky feelings that we humans get to feel, these yoga asanas will do wonders to help.
1. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana****) – Maintain the length in your arms, legs, torso and chest as you bend forward placing your hands in front of your feet on the mat. Bend your knees as much as you need to or place your hands on blocks.
Allow any pressure or emotion to release and as you take 10-15 breaths in this pose, really root down with your hands and feet, drawing up healing energy from the ground. Be still.
2. Tree Pose (Vrksasana)** – Shift your weight onto one leg and raise the other leg, foot facing inward and place it upon your calf, thigh or in half lotus. Raise your arms above your head in prayer or with arms separated, palms facing in.
Take 10-20 breaths and breath deeply into your heart space. Feel your roots deep within the earth like a giant oak tree. Feel stable.
3. Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana II) – **Stand with your feet about three-and-a half to four-and-a-half feet apart with your front toes pointed straight and your back foot in at a 45 degree angle. Bend your front knee until your leg reaches a 90-degree angle and extend your arms. Lengthen your spine by tucking your tailbone in and down.
Breathe 20-25 breaths here, drawing energy and vitality from the earth. Feel strong, powerful, confident and beautiful. Shine out of your heart space.
4. Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana) -** Note: This pose is for advanced practitioners only. If you do not have a regular yoga practice you can lie on your back and put your legs up in the air and breathe here.
Lie on your back and elevate your legs bringing them over your head until your feet touch the floor or a block. Place your hands up your back, lift your spine and elevate your legs. With spine straight and chin away from your chest, breathe here.
Take 25-50 breaths in this pose. Inversions help to shift perception and rejuvenate the body as well as tonify and cleanse the endocrine system. You may also choose to place your feet to the floor after completing your breaths transitioning into Plough Pose (Halasana).
With regular practice of yoga asanas, you will notice yourself feeling more balanced, joyful, confident and less abound by your fears, therein, facilitating transformation and change with emotional stability.