In the early 90’s, on my quest for peace of mind, I embarked on the 4-year British Wheel of Yoga teacher-training course. As well as anatomy and physiology the training also included some Eastern philosophy and one of the books covered was The Bhagavad Gita. I’m amazed how often I dip into it to find timeless wisdom that can be so apt for today’s living.
One interesting aspect is known as Pratyhara (sense withdrawal). Just the action of getting out your yoga mat and doing some simple stretches can help draw our attention away from the outside world.
Drawing our attention away with practice.
Here’s an example, picture the scene. Obsessed by the notion that she must hear from her boyfriend by text, email or phone. Carly is addicted to checking her phone and email to see if he’s contacted her. Her insecurity has her stalking the boyfriend’s social media interactions, the knowledge of which, she uses to try to trip him up when they next talk.
Carly feels so desperate because he hasn’t called since the night before, that means she drinks more and has started smoking again. Her mind is everywhere with wild imaginings of his infidelity. Convinced her life is nothing without him, he finally calls and she is ecstatic. She is relieved, her mind reassured, the fearful emotions temporarily quelled she relaxes.
A couple of hours later the insecurity surfaces again. Her mind wanders back and forth re-running previous things he said. She picks apart the conversations, looking for evidence that she will be abandoned by her love. As her heart races, her nervous system cranks up. She needs a fix, something to fill the feelings of fear and the void of deep emptiness in the pit of her stomach.
This cycle does the rounds day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute.
If this sounds familiar, your next question will be, how do I stop this?
The mind and senses often dictate that whatever it is that we’re longing for is usually outside of ourselves. ‘It’s Over There’ so we strive to get there. We then find that the ‘There’ has become ‘here’ and now there’s another ‘Over There’!
Carly, convinced that her happiness lay in the consummation of her desire to have her boyfriend’s attention means she can barely be with herself!
So how can Carly get out of the vicious cycle and create the opposite, a healthy positive analeptic cycle?
Yoga can be your answer.
Even if you’ve just started yoga the following will help to quieten the senses and give you more control of the mind. GET YOUR YOGA MAT OUT!
The action of taking your mat out and laying on it for at least one minute is the starting place to bring about some peace.
When you lay on your mat, focus on your breath and body, the attention is turned inwards. The body softens, relaxes and releases tension. The senses are slowly drawn away from the outside world and it‘s distractions. Gradually a sense of peace begins to flow throughout. This is Yoga.
Do you fancy joining an online class?
Great! You’re in the right place, book here.
Interview with Psychologies Magazine Editor
Oh I almost forgot to say I was recently interviewed by Psychologies Magazine Editor talking about anxiety and ways to deal with it. Catch up with it and my latest episodes at https://anchor.fm/stresshacker