Friday, December 15, 2017

Sutra 1.2

Sutra 1.2
Yoga is the process of calming down the mind's constant chatter.  

In the western world, most people think of yoga as exercise. One small part of yoga is called asana or physical postures which in and of itself is much much more than just exercise. If you are practicing asana with focus you are effectively practicing yoga, however, if you are practicing asana and thinking about what you will be cooking for dinner, then you are not practicing yoga; you are basically exercising These physical postures can lead one to want to uncover the true purpose of yoga. This is precisely how it happened for me. 

Calming down the mind chatter does not mean we stop our thoughts or reject them or avoid them, rather it is simply not letting our thoughts take over our mind. A thought will come into your mind which then leads to another thought and so on until you are no longer in the present moment, instead you are "living in thought." A thought may come into your mind and then you begin to identify with that thought even if it has no bearing on what's real and once again you are "living in thought world." Learning to focus our mind can convey what is truly happening instead of being wrapped up in false thought patterns. If you have ever been so involved in a project or an activity where you were completely focused on what you were doing, your mind is calm and intent on the task, you could say you were practicing yoga. Athletes call it "being int he zone", martial artists call it "being in the flow" and yogis call it "yoga." The Yoga Sutras or The Eight Limbs of Yoga provide tools to help you arrive at this place of "being" in everyday life. 

This, my friends, is the secret to happiness. I know that is a bold statement, but I stand by it. When we get caught up in our thoughts and begin to identify with them it can lead to delusion, infatuation or obsession. When we come to realize we are not our thoughts we then begin to see the world around us with more clarity. 

Our sassy seniors now living in assisted living facilities come to understand this process a bit easier than those of us still living in the fast-paced material world. We don't have to wait until we are living in a quieter place before we begin to grasp this essential concept. We can begin right now. Our story this month is: "Yoga is the process of calming down the mind's constant chatter."


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