A yoga mind prepares a person to turn insight into action. In a yoga practice, we set an intention to remind ourselves of the values and reasons behind our actions. It is important to note that an intention is different from a goal. While goals are often limited achievements that are singular in nature, an intention is dynamic as it cultivates the desires and energies from your entire being that allows a behavior to occur with mindfulness of action.
In practice, developing a yoga mind is a very personal thing. With the ever-increasing pressure to be busy and perfect, yoga provides a space where failing while giggling is still progress. When you give yourself permission to be new at something, to laugh at yourself, and to make mistakes, it opens a whole new outlook for yourself on and off the mat. Creating and keeping a space for fun imperfection is a great reason to practice.
In yoga, we often refer to the words sthira and sukha to describe the “yoga mind.” Yoga turns insight (sukha) into action (sthira). It is not enough to just have good intentions… our actions must follow. This is also what makes yoga a representation of life: you can have a host of good ideas but without taking action, nothing really happens!
Intention helps us connect these two forces. If we can live each moment with intention, to live deliberately, then we are always directing our actions towards our values. When we live on autopilot, we act and react nearly automatically and these behaviors end up doing the directing. We lose control of ourselves and perhaps we also lose ourselves in the process. Staying true to this continual internal focus and expressing it through everyday activities is achieving sadhana — power over the ego through self discipline.
“You are your own worst enemy.”
A yoga practice, with a yoga mind, allows you to begin from setting an intention. Our minds are a much bigger problem in creating limitations than our bodies are. Setting a clear intention helps us silence all the chatter that plays over and over again in our heads. It gives us the tools to check and clear out our mind chatter — are they aligning with our intention or not?
At the end of the day, you are the best expert on you. If your chatter is telling you lies, making up stories, then it is keeping you from living mindfully. You will realize that you are responsible for your own health, nutrition and happiness.
Yoga Workbook, Melissa Langworthy