Sunday, 27 June 2010

Monkey Mind

Sometimes a vivid and colourful mind is a blessing during yoga practice, sometimes a curse. 

Thoughts float into my mind unbidden and I don’t stop them coming. This has led to some weird and wonderful realisations, profound ideas, pictures of my future and interesting occurrences. Once as I was sitting in my moment of quiet post-practice (which I traditionally use to practice gratitude but can become a bit automatic...) the Lord’s Prayer popped into my brain. Weird, I thought, but I let it continue, recited from the age of 5 at Sunday school in a strange stylised fashion. When I go to a kirtan I tend to find I can think clearly and have had some great realisations there – so I forgive my brain for not being quiet (if you can’t be still, at least say something worth saying). Feelings of resistance pop up during practice, moments where I want to run from the room, but I don’t consider these bad thoughts, just intriguing: where they pop up (and why) comes and goes over time. 

The most frequent unwanted thought during practice always comes near to the end. “There’s nothing left to dread” it says. Intellectually speaking, I don’t like this thought, and wouldn’t say that I even consciously agree with it. I don’t feel like I dread anything very much in practice, certain postures have moments of hesitation beforehand, but no actual dread. There did used to be dread in the run-up to headstand, but not anymore. But still the thought pops in more often than not, usually when I’m most of the way through closing – but not today. Interesting when the thought is there, interesting too when it’s not, but no judgements. It’s hard not to assess these things and just to allow them to come, or not, but that’s what I’m going for.

Savasana has become all about the visualisations. I sometimes used to focus on a point above the third eye, feeling something radiating out from there and covering my body, almost like the readybrek glow. Now it’s a point somewhere right at the centre of my body – since reading about the concept of Buddha mind there’s a strong visual picture of a small gold statue buried deep within me. I peel away the layers to let it’s light shine through, with every exhalation the glow reaches a little closer to the surface until finally it feels like I can barely contain it. It’s like lying in the hot sun, this feeling, and a smile becomes involuntary as I let the light radiate out through my skin, allowing it to reach out beyond my physical body.


  1. "Nothing left to dread"

    I know exactly what you mean, a while ago once I had done Urdva Dhanurasana I had the thought of "that's it, all downhill now" and the rest of closing were done without thought, now I no longer mentally think of UD as a big hurdle, I actually seem to take more part in closing, though I find in Savasana if I am not careful my mind starts all kinds of thoughts, mainly visualisations of tea and croissants!

  2. Thank you for posting this. I have had some of my best thoughts / ideas during savasana. While I usually try to quiet my mind, I know that quieting it allows the better stuff to pop up. It is nice to see that others have the same reaction. :)

  3. That's it Rebecca, I think the 'quieting' process allows the mind to be clearer somehow. I'm not saying I never get caught up in thoughts of other stuff (sometimes breakfast, Kevin!) but it's wonderful when it feels like the real thoughts got through instead of all the day-to-day ones clouding them.
    And it's good to know I'm not the only one! Though when I was on my last retreat apparently it became legend "I had this amazing thought today during savasana..." ;)

  4. I was thinking about this over the weekend, as I've been trying to take 'better' savasanas. Staying at my parents, the breakfast thoughts inevitably creep in as I never know what might be in the fridge or well stocked cupboards! At home in the morning, it's often thoughts of work. But after an evening class, I'm much less distracted.

  5. isnt it funny, when you are trying to not think about anything, nonstop thoughts keeping floating in your head!