Sometimes we forget who is in the driver's seat when it comes to the thoughts in our minds.
It can feel like we are just a passenger on a wild ride. The driver is our mind and all we can do is sit there and hold on for dear life. Our mind driver takes us all over the place, does three sixties and fishtails, and sometimes it even drives in reverse at ninety miles an hour. Other times, it just drives straight ahead way too fast, all while talking on a cell phone and listening to the radio!
The tendency of our mind to go back into the past and forward into the future, making many stops, twists, and turns in between is normal but often unproductive. Our yoga practice can help us take over the steering wheel of our minds and direct our thoughts to where we want them to go.
Getting into the driver's seat of our minds requires that we get focused and present.
Sutra 1.2 in The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, says that "yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind". When the mind is still, we can connect with our innermost self.
The sixth limb on the eight limbed path of yoga is dharana.
Dharana can be defined as, " the binding of consciousness to a single spot." In other words, focusing our attention on an object or activity that we have chosen. So using the driving analogy, we focus on the road in front of us and that's it. No looking around at the scenery, comparing our car to the one beside us, talking on our cell phone, or changing stations on the radio. WE JUST DRIVE.
In traditional yoga, dharana is focusing one's attention on a chosen diety, mantra, sacred object, or the breath. This leads the practitioner to the next limb called dhyanna (meditation) where the mind becomes completely still. Once the mind has stilled, the state of samadhi can be reached. In this final limb of yoga, the practitioner achieves a state of oneness with the object of focus.
I suspect that when a race car driver becomes "one with the road", he has reached samadhi.
Practicing this one pointed focus not only on our yoga mats, but in our everyday lives will benefit everything and everyone involved. So instead of eating dinner while standing by the sink while watching tv while texting a friend, we eat dinner or watch tv or text a friend with full attention.
Giving our full attention to the people in our lives can deepen our connection to them. When our minds are focused and attentive, we are more likely to hear and understand another person's point of view.
With an inwardly focused mind we may even come to hear and understand the wisest voice of all...the voice of our higher self.
All Abhyasa Ahimsa Aparigraha Asmita-Ego Attachment Baron Baptiste Beginner's Mind Bramacharya Carl Jung Clear Seeing Colorless Comfortable Discomfort Creating Spaciousness In Mind And Body Cultivate The Opposite Deepak Chopra Dharma Empty Your Cup Enthusiasm Equanimity Family Fight Or Flight Great Vows Inner-awareness Inner Critic John Kabbatzinnb2faff332d Listening Mirrors To Ourselves Monkey Hunting Non Stealing Patanjali Pause Pillar Pleasure And Pain Posseses Us Practice Pratipaksa Bhavana Pratyahara Present Moment Present Moment Awareness Respond Instead Of React Samadhi Samskara Santosha Satya Sauca Sensual Pleasures Shadow Side Spirituality Steadiness And Ease Sthira And Sukha Strength Sustained Attention Svadhyaya There You Are Thich Nat Hahn This Too Shall Pass True Self Uncertainty Universal Truth What We Possess Wherever You Go Wisdom Yoga Philosophy Yoga Sutra 1. 14 Yoga Sutra 1.33 Yoga Sutra 2.33 Yoga Sutra 2 37cfe9965fa2 Yoga Sutra 2. 46 Yoga Sutras