Summer is supposed to be carefree, fun and include a lot of lounging in the sun but that has not been my summer journey so far. One day last week I caught myself just as I was about to squeeze hand cream on my toothbrush. I stopped (thankfully), took a deep breath and realized My Mind was Too Full to be Mindful.
I took to my mat and moved through breath and Asana to clear some of the clutter. And as I prepared for my classes, my inspiration was very clear. Fullness in the Mind can take away our Mindfulness.
So Mindfulness is what we practiced on our mats. We began on our backs being mindful of the spine with Bridge pose and spinal twisting. Then we warmed up the abdominals slowly using the breath to keep our minds focused on the movements. Moving slowly through them allowed us to feel the strengthening more deeply, more intentionally.
As we began our familiar Sun Salutes, the chance was there to clear the mind a bit. Our bodies knew what was next and the Mind could rest. The physical movements in the opening sequences started to relieve some of the Fullness we store in the body as well. We opened the shoulders with arms clasped behind us and then used Dolphin pose to go deeper, as much of our stress and “Fullness” lives there. We began to work through the hamstrings with Parsvottonasana and Warrior 1 and 2 began to release “Fullness” from the thighs and gluts.
As the body began to release it’s “Fullness” then it became the Minds turn. Moving from Vrksasana (Tree) to Dancers pose asks quite a bit of the mind, to stay clear and focused as the body transitions. When being truly mindful, often we need to slow down, create an intention as we move from one pose to the next. When we rush, sometimes we miss key steps in an effort to quickly get to the “end”; like falling into a Standing Split from Warrior 3 instead of gracefully moving there.
Off the mat it is the same; the “end” for me was brushing my teeth but I almost missed a pretty key step that would have changed the result quite dramatically. Sometimes when our minds are so full we forget the destination completely; we walk into a room with a purpose and then can’t remember why we came there to begin with… Our Minds are Too Full to be Mindful.
As I prepare my family for a much-needed summer vacation which will hopefully include some carefree sun worship and beautiful ocean water, I keep drawing myself back to a Mindful place. It is a constant practice to steady the mind with all the thoughts we have in our complicated lives. It is also an opportunity and a gift to cultivate the practice of Mindfulness; To stop, take a breath, slow down and create an intention for what is next.
As I watched my students Mindfully create a Savasana that was restorative for them and lie still, lighter and freer of ” Fullness” than when they started on their mats, it again became very clear to me that With Intentional Moves On and Off the Mat the Fullness in the Mind will Subside and Mindfulness will Preside. Namaste