I like the idea of a sport where you don’t have to get really sweaty and out of breath, and you get to lie on the floor half asleep for the last 10 minutes.
Lazy cow that I am.
(By accident I have ended up a student of Ashtanga Yoga which is anything but non-sweaty and I’m often out of breath, but that’s another story).
When I first started going to my yoga class, it was one of the few times in my life I have come across the experience of a quiet mind and a sense of profound well being.
I came out of class feeling relaxed, calm, chilled, present and, well, not like me at all.
And I liked it.
Ahhh – THIS must be what I’ve been looking for all this time.
Yoga makes me feel great!
So I started going twice, sometimes even three times a week, to recapture the feeling.
But then I started to notice that sometimes that lovely feeling was there, but sometimes I got onto the mat and my mind was buzzing with my latest business challenge or the perennial ‘what should I do next?’ question, and the total ‘relaxation’ at the end of the class was anything but.
“I must not be concentrating and ‘doing it’ properly”, I thought and swore to try harder next time.
With my understanding of the way human beings work, I now understand how common this innocent misattribution can be.
The yoga didn’t CAUSE my sense of well being.
It just happened that during those first few classes, my mind happened to quiet down as I was so focused on the postures and breathing that any other thoughts became impossible.
Let me repeat – the yoga didn’t CAUSE my sense of well being. I just thought it had.
What I see now is that any time we have a quiet mind, we experience that feeling of peace and well being.
We can’t help it – it’s innate, it’s our natural default setting.
And because of that, humans always do better with less on their minds.
From that place of quiet, clarity and well being comes the clarity and insight that gives us the solutions to the problems we’re facing. That’s where our wisdom with our own answers (as opposed to those of the latest marketing guru) lies and it’s there all the time.
Our wisdom can always hand us an idea to help quiet our minds in any given situation.
For me, on that first day I was inspired to try it, it was yoga.
For some of you, it’s a walk on the beach.
For some of you it’s doing the laundry.
For some of you it’s simplifying your household or business.
For some of you it’s meditation.
And if it’s working for you, keep doing it.
But it’s a simple misattribution to attribute the feeling of clarity and peace of mind to the activity.
It’s just that when you follow your wisdom in the moment, you’ll find your mind quietens you and you feel great.
So for me it’s not ‘do yoga and always yoga and do yoga better’ to experience that state.
It’s ‘see what shows up today to point me in the direction of a quiet mind’ and follow that path.
Today it might be yoga, tomorrow it might be laundry (I hope so!), the next day it might be to go for a run.
Again, it’s not the thing that’s helping you feel chilled.
It’s the quiet mind.
Which is always there, but for our thinking.
It doesn’t mean I ‘have to stick to yoga and do it better to experience a state of well being’.
The more I understand the principles that underlie our human experience, the more I experience that state I found in that first yoga class more and more of the time, no matter what I’m doing.
Which means there’s even less to do than we thought.