Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Memory Lane

The last time the Celtics were this good, I didn't yet blog, do yoga, or know how to read, but don't hold it against me; the Internet didn't exist; I was more into Big Bird than pigeon, and I hadn't been to school yet. Still, I knew enough about the world around me to understand that another type of Bird ruled the floor. I was too little to keep all their names straight, which led to some lifelong confusion surrounding Tiny Archibald's real name; it was ingrained in my young mind as "Archie Tiny Bald." Don't ask. I was about four. Later, the Kevin McHale "milk" poster adorned my bedroom wall. I was never allowed to puncture my walls for the sake of any other imagery; somehow, McHale was the exception.

Befitting the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend, I'm strolling down memory lane a bit, as you can plainly see. Surely, the holiday weekend is meant for more somber remembrances, but I thought the topic of memory worked for today's post.

People often wonder why they can't "stop thinking" during yoga and/or meditation practice. Their minds are flooded with memories, visions, ideas, grocery lists, and the first line of the next great American novel.

The Truth is (in addition to being Paul Pierce), you're not expected to turn your brain off during yoga. Yes, the goal is to "cease the fluctuations of the mind," but, often, waging war against your thoughts just gets you further entrenched in the mental minefield. I like the following visual exercise as a means of dealing with pesky interruptions to your peace of mind:

Imagine that your thoughts are clouds, passing over you in the sky. It's okay to notice a particular cloud, perhaps you acknowledge its presence, get a sense of its shape and size, but then, you let it keep moving. The same goes for your fears, emotions, and doubts. Don't judge them; don't expend unnecessary energy trying to ignore or justify them. Simply, notice, acknowledge, and let your fears keep moving. Return to the sound of your own breath and, eventually, the stillness of your new found, quiet mind.

It's a feeling that may take practice to recreate, but it's impossible to ever forget.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had a new experience in yoga class yesterday. I have been practicing for a number of years and have always enjoyed the time on my mat. However, yesterday was the first time I truly wanted to run out of the room. The heat was the same. The teacher was the same. And heck, the postures are basically the same. So, why the change?