“There are avenues and supplements and books stacked on the shelves. Labyrinths of recovery in search of our best selves. But most of what will happen now is way out of our hands, so let it go, see where it lands.” -Indigo Girls
What is that chatter that goes on in our heads?
It’s amazing when you think about it, there are so many different levels we can be thinking on. I can be at work thinking through a complex task, but at the same time a melody from a song can be stuck persistently in my head, and I can be thinking about what I’m going to be eating for lunch. In order to focus, there is not just one voice I need to silence. There are many.
I wrote yesterday about the self-affirming mantra I created this past weekend: I am strong. I am me. The first part is intended to inspire myself to stick with a difficult pose or task. The second part is to remind myself that I’m an individual and that comparing myself to others is unhealthy. One could even argue it violates ahimsa or non-violence.
I am strong, I am me. It ended up being the perfect mantra. Every word is only one syllable, so it’s naturally rhythmic. But both of the key words (“strong” and “me”) are ripe with various meanings. It has two parts, so I can say one on an inhale and the other on an exhale. It means a lot to me. All of these characteristics make it the perfect mantra.
I have never experimented much with mantras because honestly I thought they were above me, meditation wise. I am not great with meditation and my mind wanders a lot, so I kind of thought mantras just weren’t for me.
But I was so wrong. What happened with this mantra (I am strong. I am me. isn’t it beautiful?) is it got stuck in my head, just like that Black Eyed Peas song everyone is singing. I mean it really got in my head during warm up, and it stayed in my head for the 90 minutes we practiced. And here’s the thing: once it got in my head, it required no more effort from me.
When my mind wandered during practice, all it took was a little focus to realize that my mantra was there, repeating itself in my mind all on its own. It wasn’t quiet while I was off in la-la land; it was on repeat, waiting for me to notice it again.
It was definitely A Moment for me. I don’t even have to repeat the mantra myself – all I have to do is set it in motion, and it takes on a life of its own.
At both of the trainings I’ve been to, we’ve discussed the fact that “our tissues hold our issues”. Yoga is my way to physically work on emotional issues, kneading them out of my muscles as I stretch, flow, and hold. It sounds silly and new age-y until you think about how true it is.
Often, during yoga class, we have moments of release when these issues are working themselves out. It’s not uncommon to have fits of laughter or tears out of nowhere during these physical releases. While I generally held my composure, I had this sort of release, thanks to my new mantra.
So if you’ve always thought that mantras were silly and unnecessary, or even distracting, I urge you to give one a try. They can be revelatory and inspirational. They can help you focus and they can hold your attention in a new way. So find something that means something to you – make it something you love and understand. “And let it go, see where it lands.”