Those portions of the yoga class where you want your mind to be still are always the ones where it takes you shopping at the supermarket. I had a lovely yoga teacher, Tessa, who pointed out that the mind likes three categories in particular: LISTS (oh how it loves those lists), PLANNING (next weekend, Christmas, holidays, Grandma’s birthday) and JUDGEMENTS (what IS she wearing? He’s completely wrong for her and his eyes are too close together). Tessa suggested we acknowledged them, filed them in the appropriate category and stamped them – Look at this later.
More recently I’ve been listening to the audiobooks of Jack Kornfield, the wonderful meditation teacher. In his book Path with a Heart, he has a strategy for dealing with emotions that arise during meditation. I pass it on to you because it doesn’t only work when you are at a yoga class or trying to meditate – it’s a fantastic asset for anytime your emotions threaten to get the better of you.
Name your demons. Are you angry, afraid, ashamed? The unknown is much more frightening than the known. Call it by its name and see what happens. My most common demon is fear, and since listening to Jack’s book, I’ve learned to identify it and I just repeat gently to myself ‘fear, fear, fear, etc’ as I breathe quietly. Jack is quite right, when you do this you discover that these bouts of emotion only last a few seconds and then they go. They might change into something else, but they are all short-lived.
Below is a link to a much better review of A Path With A Heart than I could ever write. Have a look.