Raja Yoga – Tames the mind

“Mind over body”…
We hear it everyday. At work, in the gym, in school and even words from our very successful leaders around the world. It’s true that if you have a strong mind, your body usually listens to it and you’re able to cross through many boundaries that your physical body might deem as tough. For me, i’d much prefer to be able to tame my mind.

I am a physically active person. Being active for me, also means that i would not be able to sit around and and laze. And as such, my mind follows suit. I’m constantly planning what to do next, or what i can do at the same time. “One stone kills two birds” sounds logically great. I wanted to live my life to the fullest. I felt like i was at my prime. Accomplishing many tasks at one time and never slowing down. Moving along the corporate world has also contributed to tune my mind to multi-task. Not a bad advantage as it usually brings some financial or rewards in my job.

The disadvantages began to surface 4 years ago. I could not sleep well. I felt tired even after 12 hours of sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night and could not go back to sleep. My temper was quick due to lack of sleep. I had limited patience and got agitated easily. My thoughts became negative and i was never happy.
“It has to do with age. Your metabolic rate is begining to slow down. Your body starts to go downwards…..”. Those were the words that doctors and friends told me.
I was not convinced then. I was just reaching a quarter of a century and my body is falling apart?! How could it be?! I began to observe myself more. I found my problem. I did not know how to still my mind. My mind was constantly running and i could not slow it down. If mind is over body, and the body is acustomed to this rule, what is over mind?

I have tried meditation. Even though it was basic, i learnt no useful techniques that led me into it or helped me still my mind. I wandered of and each time after meditation, i felt more drained. I could not hold a proper conversation any of my family members. I tried counting, and in a fifteen minutes conversation, i threw tantrums 4 times. I thought i was going through depression.

Begining the Yoga instructor course was a turning point for me. Seems like everything was planned. I came to learn about Raja Yoga which is also known as Asthanga Yoga (formulated by Pantanjali Maharishi).which is concern directly with the mind. Techniques are applied to bring it under control. While the mind is tamed, the control of prana (life vital force) is mastered. This form of Yoga is also known as the Eight Limbs Yoga because its practices can be divided into 8.
 1. Yamas – Retraints (should not be in the form of suppression). This consist of Ahimsa (non violence or non injury), Satya (being trueful), Brahmacharya (chastity and submlimation of sexual energy), Asetya (non stealing and lack of jealousy, Aparigraha (non acceptance of bribes)
2. Niyama – Observances (purity, contentment, austerity, study of religious sciptures, worship of the Lord and surrender of ego.
3. Asana – Steady pose. Aims to attain a steady mind.
4. Pranayama – Control of vital energy
5. Pratyhara – Withdrawal of senses from objects
6. Dharana – Concentration
7. Dhyana – Meditation
8. Samadhi – Super Conscious state ( the state where all sensory experiences as well as time and space are withdrawn).

In the course, i learnt not to be an intellect. I learnt not to listen to my body. Simply, observe and be aware. Lately, i felt calmer. The idea of multi-tasking seems lousy and mind draining. Focusing and doing one thing at a time slows my mind down. It still wanders when i try to meditate. At times when i can’t draw the thoughts away and bring my mind back, i use the pranayama method which requires me to focus on my breathing. So far, Nadi Shodana and Brahmari works for me as i need to bring my mind inwards to my breath and automactically, it shuts everything off and mind becomes still. I knew i was right because i felt so relaxed after each session, as if my mind had just returned from a vacation.