Thursday, 26 September 2019

Peaceful Mind State Comes From Within

Peaceful is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as "free from disturbance; tranquil" and "not involving war or violence."

I've been on the path of transforming my mind to a more peaceful state through a daily practice of yoga, which for me is at minimum sitting in silence or meditation for 20-30 minutes and up to a two hour practice that includes physical postures (asana), breath work (pranayama) and meditation.  It's been a process to get where I'm at, with many starts and stops and changes in what a daily practice is for me, but ultimately over the past seven years of a more serious dedicated practice, I can see the movement to a more consistent peaceful mind state.

Patanjali Yoga Sutras define yoga as the practice to eliminate fluctuations of the mind (not flexibility and strength of the body which the western world has defined yoga as), which reflects the first definition of peaceful from above.  One thing I've learned on this path is that a peaceful mind state is a reflection of what is going on within myself, not what is going on around me in the external environment.  I can be peaceful when there is chaos outside of me and I can have a racing mind when it's calm outside of me.

Going with the second part of the definition of peaceful from above, the first Yama represents it, which is Ahimsa. Himsa means to kill or violence and A added to the front of a word in Sanskrit means 'opposite' or 'not.'  So Ahimsa means 'not to kill' or 'non-violence.'  So many times we think about non-violence as something we do towards others, but more importantly it is a practice to do with ourselves.  The more non-violent or loving we are to ourselves, the more that will radiate from us in our interactions with others. This Yama is such a great place to start broadening the practice of yoga from a 'class' and 'mat' practice to a lifestyle practice.  Where are you violent towards yourself in daily life in actions, words and thoughts?  Where can you start to be more loving towards yourself and treat yourself like you would a best friend? What are you doing to 'kill' your true spirit or voice?

I have come to realize when I'm having more 'negative' emotions, such as feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, resentful, it's usually a sign that I'm in a more fearful mind state.  It's a red flag for me to stop, go inward and reflect what is going on within me to create this and take action to be more loving and compassionate towards myself. It's amazing how something as simple as changing my perception from what I don't have to what I do have immediately changes my mind state. Try it!

A peaceful mind state is a process, a practice, and requires patience.  Go to for upcoming workshops and courses on how to implement inward practices of yoga into your daily life to move towards a more peaceful mind state.