“Make up your mantra and feed it to your body. All Day.”
The average person has about 48.6 thoughts per minute, or 70,000 per day, according to the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at The University of Southern California. Now that’s a lot of observing to pull off!
But it’s worth it, isn’t it? Our thoughts are our treasures and our learning tools. The Course in Miracles says, “The body is the learning device of the mind.” So too, the mind is the learning device of the soul. Usually, our gnarly thoughts (the ones that are not loving and self-affirming) are passing through to teach us this or that about ourselves. Part of the journey is to see them, understand them and in some cases to weed the garden of the deeply rooted thoughts we don’t relish facing … the ones which seem to get activated by people, places and things for the express purpose of pulling our chain. Then, if we choose, we can see our own limiting concepts and with great resolve, bring them bubbling to the surface for eventual release from the bodymind imprint. Not an easy task sometimes, but what is the alternative… holding onto them forever?
The skill is in watching the gnarly thoughts non-judgmentally and letting them show their teaching. You created them in the first place! And you can uncreate and transform them anytime. You are the boss. When you get good at this, your life will evolve in a whole new way. The premise that our thoughts really do create our reality becomes more and more real as we practice this wisdom.
Of course, thoughts that are loving: Expand … by sending those babies out in all directions! This is called Tonglen in the Buddhist tradition.
Voice and posture. So many tricks to stay with it.
The trick to posture. Simply move your head slightly back to align with your spine. Shift your pelvis forward. And relax while you reach for your knees to lower your shoulders. (Pilates.)
Observing self is really fun. Observing your body and mind from the third person. The voice in particular is a true indicator for your stress level and your true grounding in Self. If it is shaky, raspy, shrill, then that is your cue to relax and breathe. If you are talking, talking, talking … stress has gotten the best of you. Reel it in.
Finally, when you find yourself running around like a kook rushing, rushing, rushing … go ahead and move fast, but slow yourself down from within. Breathe slowly and really feel that slow breath while you are running around like a kook! It really works!
Nooks and Crannies. Don’t you just love those words? What an image! Is it possible that our life, our day, is just one long treasure trove of nooks and crannies? And what are nooks and crannies anyway?!
So to fit yoga into every precious nook and cranny of your day, well, that shouldn’t be too hard, right? But just like breathing consciously, it is all in the remembering. Once you get into a rhythm of fitting it in, in simple ways all day long, it will come naturally after awhile.
I like to say that we are all yogis because we have been stretching all of our lives. Granted, yoga is way more than stretching. But it is a good start. So fit stretching into the N’s and C’s … and you will be amazed at the changes in your body and mind.
The breath will really open up, too, as you perfect your mini yoga practice. I know plenty of good yogis who forget to fit yoga in as they go along, but truly, the secret to all bodymind practices is to integrate them into all that you do.
Aaaah … breathing. The secret to Life! And the secret to relaxation. Simply breathing sighs of relief all day long is the trick. And yet, to remember to do so … not so easy.
Here’s an idea. When you awake today, in a quiet moment before you engage in your day, program yourself to remember. Imagine yourself returning to your breath time and time again all day long.
The good news is that we can walk and chew gum at the same time. We can be walking or we can be riding to work or the PTA meeting … and delight in our breath as we breathe in and relax as our breath flows out.
We can be listening to a friend or colleague and whether we are fascinated or bored, we can be focusing on and really feeling our inhale and our exhale.
We can quietly observe a leaf on a tree wiggling on the wind and simultaneously feel the wind of our breath rise and fall.
It is really, really fun to perfect this art. It gives you a whole new dimension to living.
When you begin the journey of playing with the breath, it will teach you everything you need to know.
The Breath is Infinite! And how many chances do you have to tap into something Infinite, especially when it is right under your nose?