Breathe Your Way to a Calm Mind with Yoga

The mind never gets a day off. It’s either busy with ‘who-said-what’ or mulling on the past or the future. With yoga and meditation, train your mind to stay calm, happy and relaxed.

Imagine going on a long drive to the countryside with a rundown car. Far from enjoying the scenery, you will be caught up with the car trouble. We don’t often realize but the same happens when the mind is too occupied with past events or future anxieties. We fail to enjoy the beauty in simple things – being with nature, enjoying a sunset. Is there nothing that can ‘quiet’ the mind and allow us to enjoy the moment? Yoga could provide the answer.

How does the mind work? What does yoga do?

But first, is there really a need to quiet the mind’s chatter? Do you find your mind wandering off on a trip of thoughts about the past or future? Even with your eyes open and glued to a computer screen, your mind could be elsewhere. The result: low productivity and efficiency; unachieved deadline.

Such mind-chatter affects not just our work but also our day-to-day life, making us restless and uncomfortable. While there is no way the mind can be ‘turned off’ for some time, the holistic yoga package comprising yoga postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), Sudarshan Kriya and meditation helps the mind come back to the present, and restores clarity and alertness.

Relax with yoga postures 

"Unfortunately, Yoga is considered as just the physical exercises. It is just a beginning, physical exercise is just one part of it. But, then comes the breath and the mind. Tapping the inner source of energy is important. Yoga is never complete without meditation. Sudarshan Kriya takes you to the deepest meditation where body, mind and breath comes in the rhythm connecting to the source of life deep within." - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

It’s a good idea to start with some stretches and yoga postures that help make the body stable and light. Practicing yoga can sometimes seem challenging to beginners. At the onset, the body is stiff, unsteady and lacks flexibility. Moreover, we become aware of uneasiness in certain parts of the body while stretching in yoga poses. Sri Sri Yoga teachers say that it is just the body's way of demanding attention. In such situations, take your attention to that part of the body and take some deep ujjayi breaths.

Calm the mind with breathing exercises

If you repeat the same activity described above – this time after doing a few rounds of breathing exercises(pranayama), such as Kapalbhaati, Bhastrika, or Nadi Shodhan pranayama – you will be surprised to see the difference! Did you notice that lesser number of thoughts cross your mind when your eyes are closed; maybe even disappear, meaning the mind is devoid of all mundane thoughts. You can find that you are more focused and clear and can execute work faster than before.

Glide into meditation

Now the body is stable, the mind clear of thoughts – the stage is set to slip into meditation effortlessly. By this, we mean that just like we can’t force ourselves to sleep until it happens on its own, even meditation cannot be forced or done with effort. It just happens and you simply glide through it. And it’s not just the experience during meditation that matters but how you feel after. The mind becomes quieter and unperturbed, and you find yourself much more in control of things.

All these practices combined together can help switch the mind from a state of turbulence to the bliss of tranquility. The mind doesn’t shut off but it does stop chattering, letting you be 100 percent in the moment and enjoying it completely.