The reason I started practicing yoga was to learn to slow my spinning mind. I had no idea the physical practice would be so challenging. But that’s why it works.
I wanted to become more focused and attentive to the present moment. The physical challenge of the practice taught me the discipline to concentrate on what I was doing at that moment instead of perseverating about past mistakes or current worries.
The longer I practiced, the more disciplined I became, the more I noticed the changes mentally and emotionally. The discipline of the practice helped me to understand how to control my reactions to difficulties. I am better able to let go of the things that most likely don’t matter. I’m letting go of the need to be right at all costs. I’m better able to forgive slights. I’m letting go of the need for perfection and the need to please everyone.
Just as we can be challenged in difficult yoga postures, we can still be challenged by difficult situations. A disciplined mind keeps us calm and focused. A disciplined mind requires us to work to do our best. A discplined mind allows us to let go of the kind of thinking that holds us back. Not clinging to how we want things to be but seeing things how they are. Not judging good or bad, just noticing. It surely does not mean giving up or becoming complacent, but it does allow us to forgive ourselves and others and move on when things don’t go the way we want them to.
In our yoga practice, we may struggle to fold forward, balance on one leg, get a bind, or lift up and float back. We need to let go of the way we think things should be and accept how they are at that moment. Always work to improve, but not at the cost of harming ourselves with negative self talk. We need to learn to discipline our minds and use our challenges in asana practice to create change in ourselves. And that discipline of the mind is what will help us better face the challenges in our lives.