In life we have choices to make, some are easy and some are harder than others. This can lead to uncertainty and the mind may become unsettled. When this happens the mind can choose three paths, says B.K.S Iyengar, ‘one wants to go ahead and make a decision, the other hesitates and the other creates fear. So the mind is the maker and the mind is the destroyer’. We have a saying ‘mind over matter’ but in which case do we apply this? If we tell the destructive side of the mind to quieten we have the opportunity to grow as fear has less chance to grow. This is when in yoga we have the chance to discipline the mind by recognising when it begins to wander during the practice and bring it back to the present moment by focussing on the breath.
So this week’s theme was about ‘The Three Minds’. After teaching the Improvers class on Wednesday evening we moved straight from a Vinyasa into tree pose, without closing the eyes and setting the intention to stay still and steady. It appeared the students were unsteady and found this balancing posture difficult. Before doing the opposite side I asked the students to ‘close their eyes with their hands in prayer position to the heart centre, gather the thoughts and listen to the quality of the breath and the quietness of the mind’. I then asked them to ‘open their eyes and focus on a point that will remain still and steady’. All students managed to remain focussed and poised the second time around.
This demonstrates how powerful the mind can be. If we have the opportunity to clear our thoughts, focus the mind and set an intention, we can win over the two minds of hesitation and fear. Therefore in yoga we can transfer what we learn on the mat into everyday life as we know it’s ‘mind over matter’. Sometimes it just takes a leap of faith to just delve right in!