Bossing The Mind

February 7, 2011 § 4 Comments

It’s been a mixed bag of a week since the last post.

Practice has been fantastic. It looks like my body is grooving right along with this four-day practice schedule and may be ripe for a five-day week soon. For the first time last week, my fingers touched in Supta Kurmasana without any assistance, and that alone was enough to make my day. I can feel my body opening up with each consecutive practice, and, I’m unwilling to say this for fear of jinxing it, but I believe that I’m returning to the same level of openness and flexibility that I had before the auto accident. Which is a very good place to be. The left rhomboid/trapezius area has been a little cranky the past few days though, making my left wrist a little more tender than usual, but compared with the tightness of the lower right hip and hamstrings, this is just a tiny blimp on the radar.

The off-mat life, however, has been a rollercoaster of emotions. I had a weepy practice last Thursday, prompting a post that’s still in the ‘drafts’ folder. Hesitant to publish because it seems like most of the posts on this blog are less than trip-hop-happy-oh-my-god-my-life-is-great, and I doubt that the blogosphere needs more introspective, less-than-positive type of posts out there? I’m still chewing on this one, and maybe another review of the draft will be enough for me to hit the ‘publish’ button.

I found it ironic that, just as I was ruminating on the Physical and Mental Edges that David Garrigues wrote about, I found myself struggling with my own mental edge as I head towards my ‘favorite’ time of the month. The week leading up to the Great Flood is a turmoil of fear, inadequacy, irritation, anxiety and anger, a perfect storm for over-reactions to mild inconveniences, innocent miscommunications and deepest, darkest doubts about one’s self-worth. Yes, to a greater or lesser extent, this pretty much happens every month. I pity my poor sweet husband who puts up with this.

This time around though, I’ve noticed how my yoga practice has helped alleviate some PMS symptoms. There is less physical discomfort for one, and more importantly, I’m more aware of the undercurrent of irritation that’s cast its cloak around my heart. Take today’s practice for instance. I didn’t want to be there and there were a gazillion things that weren’t going ‘right’. I practiced next to someone new to our shala and for the life of me, got really annoyed at how she makes big sweeps with her hands for the Suryas and Utkatasana. Petty me! Fortunately, the better part of the brain kept plodding along and reining in the annoyed side by focusing on the breath, drishti and bandhas. As I wrestled with the bubbling annoyance, I recalled what V’s teacher said to her (I’m paraphrasing: that our job is to get on the mat and be the boss of your mind, and then to carry that off the mat for the rest of our day.

Be the boss of your mind. Oh, how important, but tricky it is. How easy it is to give in to petty annoyances and grievances, to let an unexpected circumstance throw us off balance, to flush equanimity down the drain while navigating through rush hour traffic! I believe that with a consistent yoga and meditation practice, it can be done, eventually. I’m just not confident enough to get there. But that may just be the PMS speaking.


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§ 4 Responses to Bossing The Mind

  • Kai says:

    The Bikram’s people have this saying and it’s been on my mind a lot today (as I’ve dealt with delayed public transit, annoying people and things not going my way):

    ‘Don’t let anyone steal your peace’

    I’m constantly working on this, but it’s a good reminder!

    P.S. I’m annoyed my dramatic arm-sweepers/swan divers too! 😉

    • D says:

      That is a good mantra to keep in mind, thank you for sharing Kai 🙂

      When I remember to do so, I envision the peace that comes after a strong practice as a glass of water I’m ‘carrying’ around throughout the day, and try my best not to topple it with a frown. I have yet to go the whole day without ‘toppling’ it (no surprise!) but it is a helpful reminder. So glad to know that I’m not alone in my peeve about swan-diving yogis hahaha!

  • YYogini says:

    Congrats on getting the fingers to touch in Supta. I just achieved that for the first time last week too! I am also working on becoming the boss of my mind; I think it’ll take the rest of my life to work on that.

    • D says:

      Yay for the two of us! I think you’re spot on in your boss-minding assessment, it is a life’s work, like Ashtanga 🙂

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