Tips for Practice
During this difficult time, we will all be missing class and it may be difficult to find motivation to practice. It is my hope that these hints will help.
What is it that stops us practicing?
It is the fluctuations of the mind. With everything that is going on our attention is pulled towards the latest news, it is easy to become a slave to this. Knowledge is no doubt important, however perspective is essential.
How to fix this?
The Yoga Sutras identifies 5 states of mind but for the sake of perspective 4 are accessible to us at this time
1. Restless: Agitated, disturbed, impatient
2. Stupified: Obsessed, infatuated, fear of losing wealth/family
3. Distracted: Calm sometimes, disturbed others (calmness is achievable but not for long)
4. One pointed: Stable, steady
5. Restrained: For most of us presently the mind is restless/ stupified on waking, or before sleep. We might think about the turmoil in the world, the effect it will have on our finances and family, all perfectly understandable but of no real use to gain stability.
How do I stabilise my mind?
Firstly, we must get to the 3rd stage which is distracted, this is becoming aware of how the mind is fluctuating between restless and stupified, when we are aware we can choose to change.
• Having a routine is the first step.
• On rising notice where the mind wants to go e.g. phone, computer etc.. resist.
• After shower (tongue scraping) etc, make this warm drink.
½ tsp fresh grated ginger (scraping effect on Gi tract)
½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (opens the channel)
Add boiling water
Wait until water is warm (cooled down)
Add ½ tsp of honey (strings everything together)
In between sips of this delicious detoxing drink concentrate on breathing notice the absence of thought on the exhale, keep noticing this and prolonging the exhale. This action will set up a rhythm and mindset for practice (the disturbed mind)
Coming to a standing position feel the corners of your heels and balls of your feet stabilising you, relax toes, (set up your base) the phone and computer can wait.
Do your warm - up routine: squatting, shoulder and hip rotation, balance etc, when the legs are stabilised it brings the mind to stability (the 4th state of mind), this allows you to bring your attention (opposite of tension) to the limb that is moving.
This sets up your state of mind and rhythm for the day, paying attention to what changes this is the reward of your Yoga practice, the attentive breathing can happen at your will any time during the day. Otherwise it becomes another item on the list to be ticked off.
Small steps become habitual.