Most of my yoga classes begin with a few minutes of meditation. It gives folks a way to clear the “gunk” of the day. I urge them to notice the “Vritti Chitta”, or monkey mind– those stray thoughts that bubble up. Thoughts like “What do I need to do after class…”, “Did I write that email to…”, “My boyfriend is…”, “My wife wants…”, “How can I afford…” and so on and so forth.
It is important to acknowledge those thoughts as they form. I like to think of them as leaves falling from a tree, and then, let them float away. In class, I remind folks that they can also use their breath to focus, connect with the now. I remind them that they have access to peace, anytime, anywhere they need it – not only in yoga class.
Focus is essential for getting down to work. Many writers swear by turning off wifi, or programs that remove internet access. When that is not an option, I find techniques like the ones describe above useful for bringing awareness to distraction. After all, what are email, texts, and tweets, other than the intrusion of another’s thoughts? We live in a world with open access to the Vritti Chitta of billions of other minds and if we are not careful those thoughts distract us from our own priorities.
Just as you do in mediation, notice the pull of distraction against your focus, the impulse to check mail, your phone, or your feed. Use your breath to find calm, balance and gently bring your focus back to your work. When checking email and social media, do so with intention and mindfully engage. Set limits, perhaps note the time and set a timer to avoid getting lost in the maelstrom of other’s vritti chitta, their urgency pulling on you either through social media, email, texts, or even IRL.
Now get to work. Xoxo
Featured Image: Public Art by Jun Kaneko in Chicago’s Millenium Park.