Mind Over Madness

Here in Manhattan, for the past 20+ years, The Times Square Alliance has sponsored yoga in Times Square on the summer solstice. They call it “Mind over Madness” — the theory is that if one can cultivate calm and serenity, blocking out the incessant racket in Times Square, arguably one of the busiest (not to mention touristy) spots in the city, one can cultivate calm and serenity anywhere. If you haven’t been to Times Square lately, you might not know that they’ve transformed it, somewhat, into a pedestrian mall, and there are interestingly (and often very scantily) dressed and/or painted characters hanging around for the delight of gawking tourists. Although I generally avoid Times Square like the plague, I’ve attended this event for quite a few years – at least 7, maybe more. I just love this idea of searching for, and perhaps even finding, a deep well of stillness within while outside there are the flashing billboards all around, traffic noise, and of course the tourists, watching all these crazy people twisting themselves into yoga poses, or lying flat on their backs, eyes closed, relaxing into savasana (corpse pose) or yoga nidra (nidra means sleep in Sanskrit, though yoga nidra isn’t actually sleep – it’s a form of guided meditation that attempts to bring the practitioner to a state of deep but conscious relaxation), which might seem even crazier.

This past June 20, I attended as usual. At the end of the practice, the instructor led us in a yoga nidra-ish guided meditation which did bring me to a state of – not exactly profound stillness – but stillness, nonetheless. I’ve recorded a 15 minute yoga nidra style guided meditation that I’d like to share with you. If you have trouble sleeping, or are troubled by middle-of-the-night waking, perhaps because there are too many thoughts and worries rattling around in your brain, clamoring for attention, you might find this useful. Simply click on the link, settle into your mat (or bed!) or chair, and listen. I’d love to hear from you if you try it – let me know what you think!

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