Photo by Monica Felix @ www.monicafelix.com

The brain is a bad neighborhood

Photo by Monica Felix @ www.monicafelix.com

Photo by Monica Felix @ www.monicafelix.com

That’s what my yoga teacher always says.

The brain is a bad neighborhood.

Stay out of it. Don’t allow yourself to become unceremoniously yanked around by your thoughts. Turn your attention to something else.

Yeats famously prayed, god guard me from the thoughts men think. But with so many questions and voices and ideas inside my head, spinning like plates on sticks, perhaps the thoughts of other men aren’t our problem.

Next time you’re practicing yoga, instead of tossing and turning and crashing and banging around and around on the endless racetrack of compulsive thoughts, firmly turn your attention to your body. Channel those neurons elsewhere. Make the mental railroad switch. Spend your energy on a new pursuit. And the voices will go away.

Do you tend to underestimate the extent to which your own hostile thoughts impact your practice?

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