How Can Meditation Reduce Mind Clutter?

reduce mind clutterBy Faye Martins and Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP

Can meditation reduce mind clutter? When the mind isn’t functioning properly, performing even the simplest task is a difficult proposition. The problem of confused thinking is one that only seems to get worse as time passes. Unlike other parts of the body, which heal on their own, the cluttered mind often needs help in order to return to normal. The mind is a complicated and active piece of the machinery that makes us functional. In typical situations the curious and energetic nature of the mind serves us well. Left to its own devices however, the mind can become its own worst enemy. Hence, there is a potential problem with an untrained mind.

 

Cluttered thinking is often the result of an over-active mind. The cluttered mind races from one thought to the next, without ever truly solving problems. Over time, this frantic activity forms a habit, and the mind becomes less capable of properly processing even the simplest information. Due to the fact that the mind is habitual in nature, muddled thinking becomes a habit, and it is often one habit that is difficult to break. Fortunately, we know enough about the mind to suggest a natural and non-chemical solution for it. Meditation is the oldest treatment to reduce mind clutter known to humankind.

Meditation focuses on bringing order and harmony to a chaotic mind. By teaching the mind to focus intently on one specific thought, meditation helps the mind to better process all thoughts. Where modern medical science relies on drugs and counseling to provide relief for the chaotic mind, meditation requires only the simplest of methods to bring the mind toward a state of stillness. Yet, we strongly suggest students to seek professional counseling first, when students have problems. The reason being: A professional counselor will get to the cause, source and treatment of chronic problems. Meditation and Yoga teachers should not be counseling, unless they are professional counselors.

 

Yogic meditation has been using the natural resources contained within the human mind and body to provide mental relief for centuries. Through Hatha Yoga, the body and mind are expected to work together, with each one strengthening the other. Even the most simple Yogic exercises can have a great impact with removing clutter from the mind.

Before the classic asanas (Yogic postures), formal training relies on breath control (pranayama) to still the mind. By observing and controlling their breathing, Yoga practitioners learn to carefully examine their thoughts and the world around them. Over time as these practices become habit, the minds of those who practice meditation and/or Yoga, learn to process information in better ways.

 

An Unconventional Method for Preparation

Usually, meditation and/or Yoga instructors are teaching students who have not learned the art of mindfulness. Our students can barely sit still because of consuming stimulants and being plugged into electronic devices all day long! Additionally, our students sit on chairs, couches and benches. Their bodies are not used to sitting on the ground. Many people have not sat on the ground since they were children.  For this reason, we propose techniques that are not classical in nature and can be practiced in an office. We ask you to think outside the ashram and into the busy lives of people, who work more than one job to make ends meet.

One Yoga asana, or body position, that is a particularly good before meditation is the Standing Arm Reach. We call this “Touch the Sky.” Simply sitting or standing while reaching with your arms skyward will carry out this basic posture. Do not lock any joints and be mindful of your breathing. There are many options for pranayama, but let’s keep it simple. While stretching as much as you are able to, relax, inhale, and exhale, slowly. Performing this action and other Yoga poses that are adapted to an office chair several times per day is a simple and effective way to reduce mind clutter, while preparing the body and mind for a meditation session.

 

Side Notes for Teachers

As mentioned before, whether you teach in a studio, health club, office space, ashram, remotely by Zoom, or another online platform, you are usually reaching out to people who have not trained their minds. In some cases, the management may only want generic meditation with no foreign words. These are points you cover within the interview process. If you have your own channel, or online studio, you may be less willing to compromise. Most of what we teach are methods that have worked for us or our students, which makes eliminating practical methods, that work, difficult.

Nevertheless, it is wise to develop your program in a way that is user friendly. If you can explain it in an Email or during an interview, this helps potential students and program coordinators know what you are presenting. Don’t be offended if a facility wants you do do an audition and don’t get upset if you are not hired right away. Test your teaching out on people who have no experience and keep improving as you go.

 

 

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