Manas refers to the processing systems of the mind. This sheath of our being is processing sensory input and forming it into thoughts, projections, memories and opinions.
Judith Hanson Laster says ‘Don’t be fooled, the mind is not your friend’. It’s certainly very useful and can take us to wonderful places of imagination -also necessary for problem solving day to day. The mind is incredible, but it can also be our own worst enemy when left to run wild.
For a time i got really into listening to true crime. I enjoyed the problem solving aspect of detectives figuring out cases. However, I found after a while a subtle leaning towards seeing the world in this way. Being slightly (and really only very slightly- it was subtle) scared if i was on my own in the house or walking somewhere i wasn’t familiar with.
I think it had gone just a tiny bit beyond the normal levels …. so i decided to stay away from this kind of ‘thriller’ listening. It almost instantly made me more at ease and less suspicious.
The processing system of the mind only has what it is fed or has been fed by our senses. It often then makes stories up from there...
My mind stopped wanting the stimulation of what it was in a habit of attaching to and i became a lot freer.
Patanjali outlines this as the essence of yoga study Sutra 1.2- ‘yogas chitta vrtti nirodhah’. Yoga is stilling the fluctuations of the mind stuff.
So- where do we even begin? The system of yoga is a collection of techniques and ideas designed to welcome us into a mediative state.
Here are just a couple of tips to try in relation to the sequence.
Actually paying attention to the mind is key. With no agenda to stop it's mobile nature just observing how it trails and loops in all directions is the fist big step. In the video i liken this to the metaphor of clouds passing in a clear blue sky.
Noticing then the sensory information that is feeding in, rather than being on autopilot helps to cleanse Manomaya.
We have so many reactive settings in this layer set up out of practicality. To keep us safe it is slightly on the defensive, but when we really give the sensory experience our full attention it sometimes throws up a different resolve which is perhaps not based on a past experience or a false future projection but on the present moment.
If the mind is really racing a mantra can be useful.
I find that simply moving fluidly with an awareness of the breath is so effective in stilling the the mind, however Mantra might also be a good tool.
Inhale ‘LET’, Exhale ‘GO’
Try sitting in meditation at the end of the sequence with nothing but the breath and your mantra and see where it guides you.
For some of us movement is the best access point into a meditative state. The sequence has a couple of tricky balances which I've always found help to calm the monkey mind and focus the attention.
The hand mudra I have chosen is ksepana mudra- ‘The gesture of pouring out and letting go’. Acknowledging that thoughts will come and thoughts will go. Fluidity is to be expected, grasping and clinging can drop from the body's movement and so filter into the space of the mind.
I find that moving in this way really helps to ease out the mind and gives me a good quiet space to sit on my mat at the end. See if it works for you?
2 Things to Reflect On:
-What sensory information do you tend to overload yourself with? Do you ever notice that it colours your life? Our mind tends to crave things that have become a habit- but is it a habit that is serving you well?
-Is there a mantra that resonates with you that you would like to use?
I hope you enjoy, the video is full of heart so i hope its felt, Love A x
Photo: Carys Maggie Lavin