One thing that attracted me and that made me get more and more curious about the practice of yoga is “the mind aspect”. Before starting my yoga practice,there were only few people in my environment talking about how much control ( not always a positive one) your mind can have. Most of those people I was interacting with or reading about were athletes. What a surprise, right? Athletes can teach us so much about how the mind can help us in achieving our potential or how the mind can stop us by telling us that we are not capable of doing it. The moment you are about to quit is the moment something beautiful is about to happen. If you believe in yourself and don’t let the mind take over the control, then something extraordinary can happen.
The mind aspect is one of the special things the yoga practice emphasizes. We talk so much about the mind. We talk about the mind in the asana practice. We talk about the mind in pranayama. We talk about the mind in meditation. Mind. Mind. Mind. Every day. All the time. The mind can lead us to a happier and fullfield version of ourselves or it can feed our anxieties and negative thoughts and stop us from achieving our full potential.
Before starting my yoga practice, I thought that mind mostly refers to our intelligence, to our ability to learn and absorb new knowledge. But yoga makes a difference between the mind and intelligence. And what is knowledge by the way? But intelligence doesn’t necessary refer to how knowledgeable your are about a certain subject or matter. If the mind is controlled by intelligence, then beautiful things can happen. If the mind is not controlled by intelligence, then your mind can become your worst enemy.
With regular practice and after years of getting on our mat, we start to become more and more aware about our actions, our thoughts, our reactions and we get to see ourselves and others better – as we are, how we treat ourselves (niyama) and how we treat others (yama).
In this process, regular practice of asana, pranayama and meditation play a big roll. But first take a look on your yama and niyama. How does your yama and niyama look like? Are you aware enough? They are all interconnected.One step leads to another.
These are part of the tools that help us to get closer to “yoga chitta vritti nirodha” ( no fluctuations of the mind) or in other words an equanimous state of our being. This process cannot be rushed, but things happen when you are ready for it. For example, as much as someone tries to tell you that you are doing a mistake or your behavior is harmful, you are not going to see that before you become aware, therefore ready for it. But think about the fact that nothing happens unless you put effort into it.
Do your practice! Be humble. Be open. You are not the mind! You should be the one telling your mind what to do, not the opposite.
“A stable mind is like a hub of a wheel. The world may spin around you, but the mind is steady.” B.K.S. Iyengar