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  • Tracey L. Kelley

Self-Study: Taming the Monkey Mind

One of the books I recently curated for YogaIowa magazine is How to Train a Wild Elephant (And Other Adventures in Mindfulness) by Jan Chozan Bays, M.D. It's a great book of exercises outlined by Bays, a physician and Zen teacher, to help us understand how simple changes can establish a more grounded presence every day. This week, I'm working with one of the exercises: using my non-dominant hand, which reveals some fascinating observations! The split-second it takes to pause before I reach for something, brush my teeth, or scratch my nose with my left hand instead of my right offers a brief expansion of awareness; a reminder to not be so automatic with my actions or responses. This particular exercise also helps me further explore the balance that yoga provides—why we're always seeking symmetry in our bodies and between the left and right hemispheres of our brains. There are numerous exercises to practice in this book, including notice trees, listen to sounds, hot and cold, secret acts of virtue, and others. I like how I can keep it on my end stand and read one exercise, and decide how I want to incorporate it into my next week. Fun stuff!

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