The origin of yoga has been lost in the midst of time. The closest we can get, is that it began in India over 5000 years ago. In today’s modern world, many people think of yoga as a physical practice, but this is not the case. The essence of yoga is about stilling the mind, emptying the mind. If you’ve ever tried to sit in meditation, you will realise this is extremely difficult to achieve and certainly for any length of time. The physical poses and the breathing we practice on the mat are tools to use to help still the mind off the mat.
This week I am in the Lake District. On some of my walks, I have been alone, spending time on the hills and mountains practicing yoga. No, I haven’t gone into a downward dog on the summit nor knelt down on the fell to do a cat – I’ve been practicing emptying my mind and having a psychological clear out of all the rubbish I carry around in it in an attempt to find an inner stillness and tranquility.
In recent years, as I have developed my yoga practice, I have been focussing on taking what I practice on the mat, off the mat, and into my day to day activities. I have learnt I can practice yoga anytime and anywhere just by becoming aware and bringing myself back to the present moment.
I have a tendency towards an over active mind and if I am not careful, I can find myself ruminating about things (people, events, issues, situations, imaginings, ideas etc.) to the detriment of my wellbeing.
One of my daily affirmations is to have a clear, steady, quiet and alert mind. This is far easier to achieve when I’m walking in the Lake District than when I am at home. This week I have focussed on having a clear out of my mind and enjoyed peace and quiet when out on the fells. The challenge will be to maintain this sense of being when I leave this beautiful national park behind and return to my usual day to day routines.
It is therefore my intention whenever … :
- I catch myself ruminating about my past (which I can do nothing about)
- Worrying about my future (which I have no control over)
- Getting stuck with an issue I can’t resolve
- Churning over something in my mind I feel guilty about OR
- Overthinking a decision I need to make, when all I need to do is listen to my heart and my gut,
… that I pause, watch my thoughts, allow them to float away and then reset. I will remember I don’t need to roll out my mat, practice asanas and breathing or sit cross legged in meditation … I can achieve this wherever I am and whatever I am doing. I don’t need to be solo walking in the Lake District.
All it takes is practice!
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