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Giving the Thinking Mind a Break

This week has been one of the most trying times of 2020. That's not to say that rest of the year has been easy. We all know it hasn't, but for me, this week just seems to be full of little things that add up to make my muscles clench, my mind race. 

That is why I am thankful for my daily session with yoga instructor Adriene. I discovered her some months ago when I was looking for a specific sequence to deal with neck and shoulder pain, and I have been "with her" ever since. (More on her another time)

One of the things she often repeats is "give the thinking mind a break".

I used to not pay much attention to it, but I now realize just how important it is. And what it actually is.

When doing a particularly strenuous sequence, I find myself forgetting all the stupid crap that occupies my mind pretty much every waking hour. All I can think of is how to keep breathing and not collapsing into the ground like a sack of potatoes.

And I feel so much better for it. Adriene also says something along the lines of "be a warrior not a worrier" - of course, when doing warrior poses. I definitely am the latter, but when I give that thinking mind a break and focus on getting my body to work, there is that slight feeling of being a warrior. After years of practicing yoga, I'm finally able to do (what looks like) warrior three. Not for long. Still wobbly. But still!

It's not just yoga, too. It's exercise/physical activity in general. A workout with bands and bars can even be better for those days when anger just bubbles up to the surface and threaten to explode for no reason at all. In these instances, it's even more critical to stop and give that thinking mind a break for it'll be a lose-lose situation if you don't.

If you know where the anger comes from, and you realize you can't do much about it, you'll wade in the emotions till you drown. Or, if you do not know, then you'll likely drown faster as everything else you've been worrying about will come down like an avalanche. At least that's the case for me.

And, again, by putting your body to the test - and perhaps discovering muscles you didn't know existed - your mind focuses on the moment (fracking creaky joints, achy muscles, and sweat cascading down your face) and gets a respite from all the thinking. At least for a period, and then you can go back to thinking with a clearer mind.

Try it. It works.

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