"Yoga is the method by which the restless mind is calmed and the energy directed into constructive channels." B.K.S. Iyengar
Countless wise people write to us lay folk about quieting the thoughts that can run ceaselessly through our minds. Why? Why is it important to train the mind to be quiet?
One definition of thought is "the action or process of thinking". I've gotten curious and wondered (another thought, haha!) if anyone knows how many thoughts can run through the mind in any given moment? The almost unbelievable Google search engine finds numerous articles with ranges of figures like "the mind thinks more than 6,000 and other sources say up to 70,000 thoughts per day"! breaking down to approximately 3,000 thoughts per hour (averaging on the high side of thoughts)...one can do the math right down to the minute. It's no wonder we humans feel Tired even if we haven't necessarily been overly physically active.
Indeed, a lot of our fatigue is brought on by mental with emotional goings on. Or Thoughts.
One article I read shared that a person can have up to 4 thoughts in one moment. Now, moment is defined as a brief time period. However, I could not find a more concrete definition of "brief time period". I find myself sitting to see if I can realize having up to four thoughts in a moment?
It's true I can feel how the mind segues from one thought to another - even if I don't want it to sometimes- like following a rabbit hole into a warren! I bet we've all experienced this, right? I mean, I'm not the only one who has been focused at work and then all of sudden shift what I'm doing based on a though that somehow popped in (although I thought I was focused?).
Or, that I'm not the only one, who if not careful, will be having thoughts about what someone is saying to me and responding already in my mind while the person is still talking which means I am not actively listening. I try very hard not to do this, by the way. And yet often fail.
Let's face it, our minds are busy machines! And thus the need to know how to quiet them becomes important, even necessary, for our health. And for our ability to wholly relate with others. And the ability to relate well with others is one thing that gives us true fulfillment in life. Therefore, quieting the mind is vital.
Yoga - unifying mind, body and soul - is an effective tool to begin the path of practicing presence which helps us quiet the thoughts or mind chatter. Or as I like to say in class, shift the thoughts into the background. Out of the forefront. It is probably practically impossible to have no thoughts at all. And yet, the mind can be trained to focus - by way of intentionality - on a path we choose thus making other thoughts wait their turn, in a manner of speaking.
Give a yoga true practice a try as a way to begin. Try at least 10 times before deciding for or against. Take the challenge! It becomes a natural high and empowers us in many ways. This is what B.K.S. Iyengar means when he writes "energy directed into constructive channels."
A yoga practice is foundational. If practiced regularly, it will enhance All other endeavors in ones life. Endeavors such as work (channel), sports (channel), relationships (channel)...and so on. This practice begins to give vitality and energy, helping ease away the feelings of tired and exhausted often brought on by a busy mind.