Movement commits us to a course of action; stillness commits us to an infinity of choices.
-Rolf Gates, Day 28, “Standing Still,” Meditations on Intention and Being: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga, Mindfulness, and Compassion
Day 260 – This morning I turned on my favorite podcast, The Chalene Show, and was pleasantly surprised to find a nice little meditation. She prefers to move to create mindfulness and stillness of the mind, and so she created a special show to do just that with quotes from Marcus Aurelius. Being a classicist, I find this irresistible, and it was definitely a great way to do the dishes, which to me is routine movement, much like a walk would be, a yoga session, or gardening. And yet, I still needed to connect to breath, so I sat down for a short pranayama session, too.
Indeed, our bodies are made for moving and so, I think our mind follows suit. I am guilty of thinking way too much. When I listen to the news, I become absorbed by what I cannot change. Facebook also provides such a distraction and/or agitation. And, perhaps, we all know this, but do it any way–I’m a little more apologetic than some, a little less than others, probably, but there perhaps is some good in the modern man’s mind. As such, I recognize I’ve got the physical movement habits down–I definitely use my body more appropriately now, but the habits of the mind come slowly.
Rolf writes: “Our minds drift to and fro, buffeted by sensation like a boat upon stormy seas.” Rolf teaches us that pranayama is the “anchor…to which we tether our minds so we can be present for the real.” Although breath is always there for us, we can slowly cultivate habits of the mind through our conscious, nonjudgmental practice of breath. Pranayama allows us to “see through the veil of the distracted mind” to the horizon of our true existence.