Calming the Mind with Yoga and Mindfulness

How many times have you caught yourself getting annoyed, angry or have “let emotions get the better of you” and thought afterwards that you wished you’d kept your cool, or not reacted so hastily?

Yoga helps us by offering solutions, tried and tested techniques, and ways to calm the mind wherever we are. I’m going to share some those I have found most effective in my life and I know work!

So we all know that it is easy to feel relaxed, focused and calm during a yoga class. But how can we maintain this inner peace and tranquillity in our busy modern lives and when faced with the external pressures of everyday contemporary modern life?

The Situation

When I was living in London I would frequently feel stressed in my daily life. The busy commute on the packed tube, the travelling huge distances -rushing from class to class, I would be amazed at how I would easily let myself be affected by these hectic and frenetic external situations. I was so stressed by the environment I had forgotten my response is actually a choice. Yoga and mindfulness helps us to realise our reactions are a choice by making us more aware of what and how we are thinking.

A solution

During this time, I was introduced to a technique which I found really helped bring me back into the present moment, stay calm and not lose my head!

It’s a very simple physical technique which consists of squeezing each finger against your thumb, one by one. The point of this is by focusing the attention on the sensations in the physical body and by concentrating on the ‘doing’ of the activity there is less mental space and energy for the unwanted, exaggerated or unreasonable emotion. Effectively by dropping out of the instant reaction based reptilian way of thinking eg. anger, frustration and desperation we can choose our response to a situation. This leads to less outbursts!

Feel calm in any place

I first learnt this technique with the positive affirmation “peace starts with me” , each finger representing a word, saying the 4 words in turn as I squeezed the pressure points on the fingers one by one. However on the tube this sentence didn’t really resonate with me, so I started using a sanskrit mantra I had been working with “maitre karuna mudhita upekshanam” *yoga sutra 1.33 (this loosely translates as “May I welcome with equal compassion all that is good and bad” or in my words even though this moment is unpleasant it is also teaching me).

A Practice for You

Here is a list of affirmations you can try:

  1. Peace starts with me
    By becoming peaceful yourself you can directly influence those around you, almost like an energetic osmosis
  2. I have unlimited potential
    We often get so caught up in the small stresses of life we forget that we are unlimited consciousness, and at the level of the quantum field we are energy and information
  3. I am a priority
    Sometimes we are so busy taking care of other people we forget to loo after our own needs
  4. I am so loved
  5. Everything is ok

Can you think of your own positive affirmation which means something to you?