Friday, October 8, 2010

Body/Breath over Mind

I'm a thinker. I've always been a thinker, which is probably why I spent gazillions of years in school. The phrase "mind over matter" resonates with me; I know I can do anything if I put my mind to it. And I feel I've proved it several times. But what happens when I'm in my yoga, and I need to have my mind take the back seat, allow my breath to take over, and let my body experience itself through my practice? Well, sometimes my mind gets in the way.

And so that has been one of my greatest challenges: listening to my body, feeling what is happening, experiencing it as it is, and being at peace with these things. I feel that I've made great strides over the past 10 months. I've been able to notice more when my mind is over-thinking. I've taken steps to be more present in everything I do. I've begun to try to live in the fullest version of myself, offering my most heartfelt self to my life and those I encounter.

But there are still times when my mind just won't shut up; when all I can do is listen to my mind rationalizing, explaining, and planning. Which is probably one of the reasons I've been so drawn to yoga: when I found the peace that I could experience in my breath, that's when I was really hooked; I had no trouble creating a regular practice and making more and more time for yoga. But sometimes, even in my practice, my mind keeps taking over.

Tonight I took a class with Kelly where she suggested that our bodies had way more wisdom than we knew (as she's finding through her pregnancy right now!); in fact, that our bodies had infinite wisdom. I internalized that thought and consciously tucked my mind in my back pocket for the class. I let my body take over, as my breath flowed through it. I experienced the class. Twice during the class I got nervous about a pose and began to lose it. But I was able to immediately return to my breath, feel my body, re-hide my mind, and go back to the practice.

My mind was so tucked away that I didn't even notice it was quiet until I got on the train after the class. I was sitting on the train, looking for my phone to call Billy and tell him I was on my way home, when my mind started working again. And I was like WOAH! What is going on? And then, I realized that I had been at peace. And it had even lasted 15-20 minutes after class. It had seemed so easy cheesy. Body over mind. Or, I suppose, breath over mind.

And so I go back to practicing. Trusting my body. Quieting my mind. Not so easy for a thinker, but I know it's possible. There's samadhi on the other side of that rainbow.

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