YOGA AND THE MIND
by, Jessica Mariglio
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
- Viktor Frankl
At its core, beyond the physical postures and the trappings of studios and classes, the practice of yoga is a psychological practice of self-study. It is about coming back into contact with what presently is as opposed to what we wish would be present. In many ways, yoga is about understanding our nature-- observing the fluctuations of the mind and emotions without becoming identified with them. It is a practice that involves surveying and re-establishing the landscape of the mind. It is, as Dr. Chris Chapple writes, “the process of taking us back home to our unobscured true nature.”
Our minds can become troubled by waves of emotion, story, past traumas appearing present, and cravings for things to be different than they are. Our perception of reality, of who we are and where we belong in the world can become muddied. We become lost and identify as our struggles. The practice of yoga is about observing the waves of the mind without being swept away by them. It is a practice of calming these waves so we can see through to our source and ground ourselves into reality as it is rather than how we might perceive it to be.
As humans, we are blessed with the capacity for meta-cognition, which is the ability to witness the process of the mind as it unfolds. It is from this witness standpoint that finds the key to liberation from identifying with the waves of the mind. When we become witness to the mind, rather than identify with it, we can note the feelings, emotions, sensations, and patterns that arise in every moment and choose our response accordingly. In this way, we can establish a sacred pause of awareness in between stimulus and response. This is why, whether in the therapy room or on the yoga mat, we are frequently called to bring our awareness to what is arising in the here and now. This is the practice of mindfulness-- returning awareness to the present moment as it is.
At Mindfulpath, I provide small group and private yoga classes both in and outdoors.
I also incorporate yoga into my therapeutic process when needed or requested.