I forgot that I'm living in a constantly changing bodymind, and that it never gets boring. I forgot that if I don't practice, time slips by too fast, time gets taken for granted. I forgot that when I slip out of practice, life creates me instead of
Me Creating my Life.
No matter where I am, if I have the desire for betterment in my body, thoughts, relationships, jobs, emotions, etc, there is a step I can take in Yoga. Yoga is about taking small steps to change for the better, because we are going to change anyway. We cannot force change, again, it happens anyway. We can only direct it. We can only allow it to happen with just a bit of effort.
The key to meditation is giving the mind peace. A peaceful mind has the infinite capacity of the universe, and we all want less stress and more infinite creativity (am I right?). But especially in this Information Age, there’s a lot going on in there. So:
Step 1: find for yourself a one small thing that can lead your mind to more peace.
“Mind cramps”, as Erica Kaufman of Lila Yoga states, are obsessive negative thoughts that consume the mind over a period of time. Notice when one of these arises for you,
Then continue reading.
Now your goal is to reverse the mind cramp.
Step 2: Give yourself time and space to reflect on your current state.
Don’t just distract yourself. The emotions (coming from either a fear or desire) must be allowed to cycle through, otherwise they will freak out and expose themselves at some later date. Allow, and change will take place.
Step 3: Dig a little deeper and ask yourself why you have this fear or desire.
Fear and desire create unreasonable excuses and projections, so try not to mistake those excuses for the fear/desire itself. Cycle through, and dig. Cycle through and dig again.
Step 4: Find a positive thought or action to replace the negative.
We create our own patterns, and most of us create negative ones. We can create positive patterns by developing a practice where we check in, admit we have a problem, and create a positive thought or phrase focused on clarity, allowance/letting go, balance, strength and positivity. This is your mantra.
Bonus: To up-level this mantra, go do something that you love that is good for you, like riding a bike, going to a yoga class, or jumping in the ocean, and repeat your mantra the entire time.
Step 5: Create a reminder.
You want to remember your mantra, to think in that particular way. This way, your brain gets used to it, turning these positive thoughts into habits. I like putting a sticker on my bathroom mirror that says, You are perfect and beautiful, exactly as you are, right now.” And even though I didn’t believe it at first, “fake it til you make it” really works; slowly I began to believe.
This practice is starting a habit for one particular “mind cramp” or imbalance in your life. It’s a small step. It’s not going to change your entire life. It’s not going to turn you into a master yogi or an enlightened being or anything like that. Yet. Give it time and honest effort, and when you feel a bit of success with this specific mantra, find another one. You’ll never get bored. Relax and allow the universe within you to unfold, the good, the bad and the ugly.
How do you use mantras? Do they work well for you in practical, day to day life? Leave comments below.