Having trouble quieting your mind?

You might be going about it in the wrong way. For instance, here’s how it went for me…

I wanted to start a home yoga practice, so I created a “Yoga Glo” account and voila!, had access to hundreds of virtual classes, depending on how much time I had, my specific aches and pains, etc.

I wanted to learn to meditate, so I downloaded Gabby Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie app, and then “Headspace,” another meditation app considered the “gym membership for the mind.”

I wanted to get more in touch with my soul, cultivate a deeper spiritual life, so I read Danielle Laporte’s email newsletters religiously.

Any of these methods sound familiar? 

The problem was, I started to feel distracted, the way I do when a restaurant menu has too many options. My morning routine started to become full of choosing the “right class” or the “right meditation” or “damn, the internets not working,” or “ok, guess I gotta update the app” … “and in the meantime I’ll just check this one email.”

Truth is: no matter how useful or inspirational a virtual tool might be, technology in essence pulls us away from ourselves.

Over time I recognized my mind “clearing” activities were in reality producing more clutter. Building stress relieving practices via “plugging in” was backfiring because I was building from a foundation that in essence is stress producing. Does that make sense? (If you doubt the stress producing effects of technology, that’s a whole other discussion! More to come in future posts).

I began to wonder:

What made me think after taking and teaching hundreds of yoga classes, that my body didn’t have the wisdom to move without a virtual teacher?

What made me think that to clear my mind or access my soul, I needed anything more than a quiet room and a comfortable place to sit?

While I’m still a huge fan of (and still make use of) all the virtual tools I mentioned above, realizing I held within me all the technology I needed felt empowering. So? I made what was within me my go-to, my trusted guide. Slowly my morning routine started to shift. My menu of options became shorter and shorter. And clarity of mind felt more in reach.

So what does my newfound practice look like?

Below I leave you with my only three non-negotiables, allowing for quite a bit of flexibility. Take em’ or leave em’. Make your practice your own!

1.Unplug – No ifs ands or buts. Choose a time slot every day, a time you dedicate to coming home to yourself (I’d recommend at least an hour, but any amount of time you can stick to consistently will do). During this time you won’t use your phone/ computer/ Ipad. Not for music, not for guidance, not for anything. That can all be enjoyed another time. Think about it – if we can’t/ won’t unplug fully during yoga/ meditation/ prayer… then when?

2. Get on your yoga mat – A good friend and yoga teacher once told me, “Even if you ‘don’t know what to do,’ Just get on your yoga mat. You’ll end up doing something, and most likely you’ll move in exactly the way you need to move.” This doesn’t mean a yoga teacher isn’t valuable it just means you should never let the absence of a teacher hold you back from your practice. Don’t underestimate the knowledge of your body.

3. Light a candle + burn some incense – Make this time sacred. Make it different than the rest of your day. Like the moment you get in bed at night… that’s how you want it to feel. Safe. Comfortable. Inviting.

Does this simple structure work for you? If not, let us know what does in the comments below!