There are days where we cannot find that moment of quiet.

I don't mean that moment of quiet where there isn't any noise. I mean that moment where the mind is completely purified of the control from the outside world. That moment where any negative thought, any confusing image, and any unwelcome energy is blocked by the power of the stillness we have created from inside of ourselves.

There is absolutely nothing better than that moment because we feel powerful but humble, calm but alive, and most of all, we feel grounded and at ease with who we are. But there are times where our minds refuse to accept the quiet. Instead, it chooses to continue thinking the negative thoughts. It focuses on the past and the times we can't change or repeat. Even when we decide to jump on our mats, the place where we allow ourselves to find that moment of quiet, the mind decides it isn't ready to silence itself. It's absolutely frustrating. That's not the point of why we do what we do. After all, isn't that what our practice is all about? Doesn't it give us a path to find peace within ourselves, even if it is just for an hour? A few minutes?

As with most good habits, it takes time, practice, and several failures to really master a technique. There are good days and there are bad ones. Even the most zenned out person has days where they feel like they can't keep their thoughts under control.

I noticed my thoughts drifting a few times during a power flow with Sean (now one of my favorite classes at Limber Tree). He described our minds as the observers of our thoughts, not participants. We were to watch our thoughts drift by as we flowed through our early morning; not grabbing at them, not watching just one or pushing one away from us, but just noticing that they were there.

I liked that analogy more than I could say at the time. My mind had been weighted down with too many things. I wasn't stressed out about any particular one but I couldn't seem to free myself from them. With each pose and move I thought of something different. I would lose balance or strength because my focus was muddled with one too many things. I kept thinking about watching my thoughts go by instead of jumping at them. Sean, our instructor for the morning, kept reminding us to not grab, just watch. It took me nearly until the end of the hour but I finally managed to feel like I was just watching. It took an effort that I hadn't ever exerted before.

Throughout the rest of my week I really focused on being an observer of my own thoughts when I was on and off the mat. I understood which of them mattered and which of them didn't. I noticed that I could disregard a few while truly putting time into others. When I felt distracted and not in control, I took a few steps back and watched instead of intervened.

An annoying (but also hilarious) example of this happened to me a few days ago. I was cooking, which is somewhat of a yogaesque part of my day, and I stopped caring about what I was cooking. I started to focus on a few bad things that had happened in my day and I became distracted from something that was for ME. It was my time to find my moment of quiet and my thoughts were ruining it! Long story short, I cooked the veggies terribly and my meal definitely wasn't as good as it could have been.

Just like my dinner, our days can either be the best they can be or we miss the mark by just a few, all because we let our thoughts and how much energy we put into them determine everything else about us. Of course there will be times of complete chaos that we have to pay attention to but when we give an hour or two a day (or even an hour a week) to ourselves we need to take advantage of what stillness we can get. In order to better the world and those around us, we first have to be our best selves. By feeling pressure of the thoughts we carry during an hour of "me time", we can't feel as rejuvenated and calm as we could.

So take the time to find moments of quiet whether you are on the mat or off. Let yourself observe, not grab, and allow your mind to feel stillness. Your mind, body, and soul deserve it!