Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 11.18.04 AM

Let your thoughts come and go like passing clouds in the sky

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 11.18.04 AMVonnegut once said that the triumph of most things is a matter of organization.

I agree. And I also think that the failure of most things is a matter of imagination. It’s our lack of creativity that hinders success. And unless we began taking charge of how we use our brains, we’ll never achieve it.

When I’m practicing yoga, I have a tendency to put the pedal to the metal inside my head. Every thought and idea plan and problem comes thrashing to the surface at once. In fact, I’m almost shocked at just how many thoughts can run through my head at any given moment.

Now, most yoga instructors would tell me to focus on the breath, stay in the present and let my thoughts come and go like passing clouds in the sky. But as an experiment, I recently tried a the reverse approach. Instead of attempting to force calm my mind, I started wondering to myself, how could I channel my thoughts into something more meaningful?

And so, I started running creative visualizations. During class, I would use my imagination to build a story in my head. A mental movie with pictures and sounds and smells and other sensations associated with reaching a particular goal. And I would hold that fantasy until class was over.

The experience was blissful. As a result of biting into the visualization, I was able to drown out the chatter of my mind. By tuning into the exciting movie I’d created for myself, I experienced a completely different kind of relaxation.

To what extent could you let you brain race, but still be in control of it?

Scott Ginsberg is a writer, daily practitioner and workstudy volunteer at Bikram Yoga Park Slope.