According to Buddhist belief, “monkey mind” is a term that refers to our internal monologue. With the noise of this monkey going on, it’s impossible to be present and focused. Learn how to calm the chatter in your head with these tips from yoga instructor Andy Blake…
You’re a monkey, I’m a monkey, we’re all monkeys. Not my words (Charles Darwin).
What are you doing today? What do you want to do? What do you desire? What do other people expect from you? Who do you need to impress today? Who are you judging? Who’s judging you? What are your expectations? What do you want? What did you do this morning? What should you have done? Why did you drink last night? Why did you eat all that sugar? What’s that smell? I need a coffee. I need food, I’m a lunatic.
Imagine if you could train your mind to be free of all this chatter
Imagine if you could notice but not react to these thoughts, not react to this chimp inside your head. Notice each thought as it passes and stay present in every moment, every action. Bring control to the emotional side of your brain. manage stress, fear, hunger, and even pain. Tune into a deeper consciousness in which you can come back to a place of stillness, of calm, of peace when you notice your thoughts becoming emotions. Good news, you can.
You can train your mind as you can train your body
It doesn’t happen overnight. Just like you can’t become an Olympic athlete overnight, you can’t become a guru of the mind in one day. However the first step is becoming conscious, knowing that life can become meditation. What if meditation, breath work, gratitude and exercise could change the anatomy, physiology and function of your brain? What if they gave you your DOSE of Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins. This cocktail of neurotransmitters can help you manage your monkey mind, create a natural high, change your body’s chemistry and help you manage stress, fear, and anxiety.
Becoming conscious of your emotions is the first step
None of this is easy, and like me, you may be nowhere near this end goal. Acceptance and learning strategies to deal with the lows rather than react to them is the key to managing the mind, the key to controlling your monkey.
Can you be more present in each and every moment of the day?
Being present teaches you how to live. Can you learn to let go of what you can’t control? The better you are at switching off the better you can be in the moments that matter. Next time you feel your emotions being swept away with you notice, be conscious of it, note it, name it and then come back to your breath. The most successful people in almost every discipline have an ability to stay calm in moments of stress. To manage their monkey mind and to access their DOSE.
Tips for manage your monkey
1. “Yoga chitta vritti nirodha” – yoga calms the fluctuations of the mind. Learn how to notice but not react to your thoughts.
2. Next time you feel a stress response coming. Repeat. Stop, 5 times then come to an abdominal breath. Expanding the rib cage and filling up the belly as you inhale for 5, pause and then exhale through your nose for 8 seconds. Repeat for a minute. Notice the cortisol levels immediately drop and gain a new perspective on perceived stress.
3. Nasal Box breath 4:8:8:4 . Inhale for 4, hold for 8, exhale for 8, hold for 4. Lengthening exhale lowers blood pressure and breathing through the nose stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system slowing everything down and bringing calm and stillness.
4. Wim Hoff style – Active inhalation, passive exhalation. Repeat 30 breaths then hold on exhale. Repeat 3 sets. Great benefits for the mind as well as the body. Enjoy the natural high you feel after.
If you’d like to train your mind to manage your emotions, to learn to optimise and be present in each and every blissful moment – join Andy on a yoga, fitness and wellness reboot retreat in the South of France this September. We are offering a 10% discount with the code DOSE10 when you book.
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Hettie is the editor and co-founder of DOSE. A keen runner, she’s also partial to a blast of high-intensity and hot yoga. A country girl at heart, she divides her time between London and the lush rolling hills of North Devon. When she’s not jetting off on her next adventure, Hettie can be found in a candle-lit alcove with a laptop, a spaniel and a full bodied Malbec.