May 8, 2013 Mads Aanesen



“Unbusying” the mind

It has been a while since I’ve got the feeling for writing. With many things going on in my life it is certainly difficult to keep a clear mind all the time. Outside influences such as work occupy the mind and crowds it. A crowded mind is not good, at least for me. I’m just grateful I’m experienced enough now to recognize it when my state is like that. I become lazy, and I have trouble knowing what to do, such as what to make for dinner, or what to do when I come home. What do I do when I come home from work and my daily routine is done?

This happens once every now and then, and what I recognize is that one of the things causing this is me staying too much inside. I get disconnected. I love going for a run in the mountain. It gives me energy and clears my mind. I realize how important it is for me to do this regularly, but I am a slow learner when it comes to certain things. I still make excuses to myself why I should do something. For example, right now I could go to soccer practice, but my shoulder is hurting a bit so I’m not going. Really it doesn’t hurt that much, I’m just lazy. This is silly, I know, but right now it feels like there is nothing I can do about it, even though I clearly recognize the problem.

This state of mind that I’m in right now, I’m sure many people recognize in themselves too. This is all because of our busy minds. My message to others and myself is, “UNBUSY” the mind.

My way right of doing this now is through yoga and hiking in the Norwegian mountains. The particular kind of yoga that has appealed to me is Ashtanga Yoga. It builds strength, flexibility and concentration, and to me it seems incredible to be able to master it. It requires one to be completely in the NOW with the whole body, mind and soul. I’ve been practicing the yoga now for 3 months now and I have to put absolutely everything into every pose, to be able to do it. And I feel myself throughout the practice, I am here, I am present, and I am extremely conscious about my every movement. After the practice I feel an amazing satisfaction of what I’ve just been doing. I lie on the mat resting, feeling feather light… and clear.

I recently watched a documentary called Enlighten Up, a movie about a journalist from New York traveling around for 6 months trying to find out if yoga really can transform someone’s life spiritually, and what is the true form of yoga.

He was very skeptical throughout the course of his learning process and the practice of yoga itself didn’t transform him as far as we could witness. However, he did say it had changed something, although he couldn’t pinpoint exactly what.

What is that something and what caused it?


What is yoga to me?

I’m writing this as a beginner to yoga, and I’m sure everyone experiences their yoga practice differently. I don’t believe there is any one best way of practicing yoga. There are as many ways of practicing as there are people practicing it, and it certainly has different outcomes for everyone.

The physicality of yoga is making me strong and flexible, however, the thing is, it doesn’t just do that. Practicing yoga “unbusies” my mind, making me focused on just one thing, breathing in and out while doing the poses. With my mind free of distractions and clutter it opens up something in me. I feel happiness; I smile uncontrollably during the practice; I feel amazing in my body. What I’m feeling it does, is allowing an energy to enter me, love, that otherwise would have been shut out by the shield my busy mind is creating around me.

I’m thinking about why yoga has this effect on me and not soccer for instance. I think soccer or most competitive sports that I can think of are too driven by ego, too driven by the brain, so it doesn’t extent beyond the physicality of it. Rock climbing is one sport that I think could have similar benefits of yoga… to some extent. That is, if you are by yourself in the mountain, completely emerged in the practice, no distractions, complete freedom, facing fears.

Maybe rock climbing is approaching the “unbusying the mind” part from a different angle. Being up in the mountain high above the ground is no easy thing is handle emotionally. THE FEAR. Here we have to let go of our fears, in a different manner than yoga forces us to let go, but both practices forces us to open our shield, letting us be vulnerable.

This is, from my perspective, the effect of yoga and how it can be a gateway to a spiritual and fulfilling life. It opens us up in a way that makes us aware, more sensitive to ourselves and things around us. We feel things more intensely, we love more fiercely… it lets all the good stuff in, and we just become more.


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Author bio

Mads Aanesen is a life enthusiast from Norway who actively follows his heart towards happy experiences. His job is as a graphic designer in a small town in northern Norway. His life is yoga and mountaineering.
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