Evenness of Mind

“Do thy work in the peace of Yoga and, free from selfish desires, be not moved in success or in failure. Yoga is evenness of mind — a peace that is ever the same.”

Drawn from the Bhagavad Gita, the above quote can be seamlessly applied to the physical practice of Hatha Yoga. So often we become overly focused on achieving the final form of a given pose: getting legs up in headstand, balancing steadily in warrior three, or finding flight in crow pose. The difficulty that certain postures present has great value as these challenges help to keep the practitioner’s mind strongly focused in the present moment.

At times though, we can develop an attachment to the final form of a posture that draws us into the ego and away from the simple work of yoga. The practice of keeping an evenness of mind through mellow poses and intense poses alike easily translates to life off the mat as we encounter wonderful days filled with happiness and good fortune, as well as days that involve loss, sadness, and disappointment.

In my life, I’ve found that moments of challenge often arise without warning and its in those moments that I’m most grateful for my yoga practice. Staying present in yoga class might not seem like an effort worth making on some days when your mind would rather float into a daydream. However, the efforts to stay present create an evenness of mind that is invaluable to support you through life’s joys as well as life’s hardships. –Michelle Laxton

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