You don't have a monkey, do you?
Actually we all do. Right up there, in our head.
We often think of yoga as all the crazy bendy poses, arm balances, and other physical movements on the mat. But that's only one part of yoga. The other eight limbs of yoga philosophy have much more to do with your mind and your spirit.
There is a phrase often used in yoga when we start to delve into how our thoughts affect our life experience. This is monkey mind. We all have a background chatter going on in our minds, often all the time. Most of the thoughts we think we might not even be consciously aware of. I recently read on the Huffington Post that we may have between 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day! That's about 42 thoughts per minute. Many of these thoughts are the same, meaning we repeat the same or similar thoughts a LOT. Our thoughts swing through our heads like a monkey in the trees making it hard to catch one and awfully loud at times.
We actually need the monkey in some ways, but in others he makes life hellish. How can a monkey be helpful? Well, our brain is like supercomputer, right? It takes care of so many things we never have to actively think about during the day, breathing, digesting, etc. It keeps us on top of our busy schedules, helps us remember birthdays, when our child last went to the bathroom, or to grab our keys as we run out the door. It’s responsible for all the thoughts we have, including the thoughts we have about ourselves, our abilities, our traits, who we are or are not.
Our mistake is assuming that our brain is objective about all the thoughts we have. But, it’s not.
Your brain's job is to filter, connect, and confirm. It will literally filter out things it doesn’t think you need to know or see (ever drive to work and wonder how you got there?). Your brain will also seek out confirmation of the things you continue to tell it or continue to believe, whether they are true or not. It doesn’t really know the difference between a story that helps you or hurts you. It wants to match what you think with what you see/hear/experience and will interpret or filter what you experience to match that thought or belief. Crazy huh?
We often consistently run the same thought patterns in our minds, firing the same neuron connections, which start to create pathways or "scars" in our brain. These are called samskaras in yoga. You can think of it like an unconsciously running computer program in your brain that reinforces and deepens those thoughts and beliefs over and over. And all the while it only finds and sees evidence that supports them.
For example, it’s like getting a new car. Before you buy it you probably don't really pay attention to the color or model of the cars on the road. You pay attention to where you're going, the changing lights, the guy you noticed it texting while driving. Then you buy a car and suddenly that exact same model AND color are EVERYWHERE!!! Where were they before? They were there the whole time. Your brain wasn’t focusing on them so you didn’t “see” them. When we think of our brain like a computer it’s important to understand that a computer follows whatever program you put in it. You want to be sure that you're aware of and like the operating system you chose.
Even more importantly,
I'm Tonia, a Midwesterner transplanted to Colorado. I'm a mom of two lovely littles, a yoga instructor, DIY-er, teacher, stay at home mom, and a doTERRA Wellness Advocate. I blog about a little bit of all of these and everything in between!
Are you looking for natural health options, but don't know where to start? Book a 1-on-1 appointment with me! We'll spend about 30 minutes getting to know your health goals and concerns, learn a bit about doTERRA, and go over the most commonly used oils that meet your needs. You don't have to buy anything, but if you see something you like, of course I can help you!