Harness the Power of the Present
By Nora Moutrane
In the Buddhist Yogic tradition, there is a metaphor comparing the human brain to a monkey’s behavior. Just like a monkey swinging from tree to tree, the brain is wired to leap from one place to another. It travels from the past to the future and back in split seconds and excitedly bops around your to-do list in any order it wants. The brain is incredible at making neural connections and keeping us safe with quick, on-your-feet thinking. However, it can be challenging to access the present moment and stay there. Being in the present moment, so many gifts can come up for us – the birth of our creative ideas, our sense of intuition, and so on. How do we rein in the monkey a bit and harness the power of the present?
The good news is that all the latest research points to our brains are so malleable. If you’re someone with a particularly busy brain (I feel you!), there’s lots that can be done to balance things out. Yoga is one incredible tool to rebalance brain chemistry and create a practice to shift your mind’s baseline state. Yoga? But isn’t that a workout? Yes, it is. It’s definitely defined as such in popular commercial culture. Catch your 60-minute hot flow class right after work before picking up the kids from soccer, rushing home to make dinner, setting up their bedtime routine, and doing the whole hustle and bustle all again tomorrow. We have squeezed it in there because we know it’s good for our bodies. Yoga serves the purpose to get your body’s circulation going, improve your strength and balance, mobilize your joints, and stretch your muscles and fascia. There are so many physical benefits, and we love that about it.
Whether we know it or not, while all these physical benefits are alchemizing, there are many other systems being worked on. Human beings are innately complex – we are much more than our bodies, and on some level, we know that. There’s mystery there, but from many behavioral studies, it’s hard to deny that yoga doesn’t change your mental state for the positive. As a yoga teacher, I can say I see consistent daily mood shifts in many of my clients. Mind improvements (clarity, calm, confidence, etc.) can happen very slowly at first and then speed up to where you might even feel like a different person a year from now. It can also occur inch-by-inch at a steady and growing pace. Regardless of how it develops, the post-yoga “glow” is a mind, body, and spirit shift. It’s a beautiful thing to witness.
With May being Mental Health Month, I encourage you to experiment with some yoga movements and get in touch with their effects on your mind. It’s a fantastic way to work on ourselves through curiosity, as opposed to judgment. The playful nature of the practice is there for you anytime you need it. So, quit monkeying around, and lean into the possibility of healing. Sending you love this month and always.
For more information on Nora, check out her Instagram and websites below:
Nora Moutrane is a group fitness instructor at Crunch Fitness.
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