Thursday, November 03, 2011

How Asthanga yoga exercises the mind

1. Ashtanga yoga exercises our memory: It's part of the yoga to know the order of the asanas and to know the sanskrit names.
2. Ashtanga yoga improves my concentration ability: During 2 hours ( my practice lasts so long in the meantime) I focus on the breath. The mind has the task to stick to one task and not to jump around. This is not always easy. The more conscious we are also of these subtle parts of yoga, the better we become at it.
3. Ashtanga yoga has the potential to make us more optimistic. Indeed, it brought me from "I cannot" to "I can". Everybody who practices daily correctly and comme il faut, will make progress. After some years a lot of asanas will be possible that seemed to be impossible first, perhaps even for years. The list of asanas I thought I cannot do, but that I can do now is too long, so I don't even start listing them here. After some time more and more asanas were possible. This convinced me that more is possible than I think (not only on the mat)
4. Ashtanga yoga makes me cool. The mind has always likes and dislikes. Quickly we know if we prefer the plum cake or the strawberry cake, if we like to get up at 5am or at 11am, if we like to run or play football. In Ashtanga yoga it's a rule to practice one asana after the other, no asanas shall be omitted, neither the difficult ones, nor those we dislike. This teaches us not to act according our moods that are indeed fleeting and changing all the time. This balanced me, for sure.
5. Ashtanga yoga teaches us self-discipline. Yoga is all about controlling and discipline. Breath, feelings, movements  - all is fixed. But the exercise starts when I step on the mat. The mind has found a way of thinking to make me do this. This pattern I can copy for other tasks that I want to do. This is one more reason why I'm such a fan also of home practices.

Memory, concentration, optimism, acceptance, self-discipline are key words of this post. 

To get to know the mind is rather exciting. Observe your thoughts. Take care of it. Train your mind, like you train your body.

Picture: I promise it, this is the last one of this series, even though I've still so many similar ones.

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