I woke up today with a mess for a mind. Sleep often ceases to be an escape during emotional trauma, and last night was no exception. The previous evening’s arguments sifted into my dreams and came out the other side like a tattered, well-read book.
I was still flipping the same pages through lunch, unable to detach from the two or three thoughts now collecting dust in my brain. I pulled out all the old tricks: deep breathing, engaging fully into my work, taking a walk.
It wasn’t until I got back on my yoga mat that the mind chatter ceased.
During my yoga teacher training, I learned that mind chatter is chitta vrittis in Sanskrit. I’ve heard it since described as the “cycling mind” or the “mind with rolling waves.” The mind is never not thinking something, and it’s not that chitta vrittis is inherently bad. But when the mind is fixated on cycling thoughts it disturbs the inner peace we take for granted when life moves smoothly.
And when you’ve had months of a smooth mind, even the smallest eruption of cycling thoughts can be devastating.
So, to the mat. I attended Tina Porter’s emPOWERment flow at Kindness Yoga. Tina was one of my teachers during my training who not only evaluated the first class I ever taught, but unknowingly has guided me through some of the toughest periods of my life. Going to her class is a homecoming and a release. It was as if my body programmed itself to find its way there.
I have to admit – I’ve been lax about coming to my mat lately. It’s part of the reason I’ve been feeling so disconnected and giving in to my thoughts, rather than witnessing them pass me by.
But that didn’t matter. I inherently knew I needed to find my way back. And sure enough, in savasana the thoughts that were coming weren’t the same ones I began my day with, but simple ones. My body is tired. The sweat evaporating off my face tickles. That guy is sighing pretty loudly.
In other words, it felt glorious. It felt like myself again. And long after I stepped out of class, my mind is still back there on the mat, gazing inward and exploring what it means to let go. Again and again to let go, because as I’m finding out some things will never go away even if you want them to with all your heart.
All this from stepping on a 68″ x 24″ sticky rubber rectangle.
The yoga practice is the tool to respond to all of life’s troubles.
It’s not solely about stretching to achieving a physical result. The result is mental plus emotional plus physical. Eventually, those stormy mind waves? They’ll roll right on by without you even noticing. You’ll experience a calm and a knowledge that yes, everything is going to be OK.
The result, in other words, is freedom.