Is your M.O. working for you?
Often the way we operate in our day to day life (our M.O.) is geared for ‘out ward directed’ change. We achieve tasks and make lists of the things we want to achieve. Living life becomes a process of ‘doing stuff’ out there in the world.
With this approach we never get to where we are meant to be and we feel as if we are failing, or at the very least not as good as we need to be.
With an ‘inward directed’ mind set we encounter the world, including all tasks and activities from the stand point of being a learner. The focus is on understanding ‘who am I in this situation’. With this M.O. there can be no sense of failure, there is only comparative. How does this experience differ to or feel similar to other experiences that I have had? The Identity mind (personality) of the Learner allows us to undertake tasks like sweeping floors, doing dishes, doing a set of standing poses, or standing on our head, with a curious mind. We become interested in our response to each situation. Today I am bored compared to yesterday when I could do this same task with a feeling of delight or ease.
Through a regular practice of yoga, we learn to observe the different mental states that are common to all people. Sometimes the mind is dull, other times busy or intensely focused. We learn to become more objective about what triggers us and develop scepticism about the things we like and dislike. We realise that the way we mentally/emotionally approach a task will alter the outcome of the experience.
Operating from a ‘learning’ paradigm we become skilled at mapping the relational aspects of experience. We create a broad field of awareness whereby every thing is interconnected. We develop a feeling for wholeness.
Many of us lead busy full lives rich with experience, and yet we have a sense of meaninglessness. We are unsatisfied and long for something that we do not even know what it is. The neural pathways that make us live and act like it is ‘ground hog day’ are pretty much hard wired in to us after the age of about 12. We have learnt to measure our worth based on what we do and even though we give lip service to the belief that we are okay to be ourselves and that we are just fine, deep down we know that we are controlled by what others think of us. And what’s more, our internal dialogue agrees.
Our inability to check our self-criticism or to re-direct our concentration toward a self-concept based in the power of our own presence, leaves us vulnerable and open to manipulation. Is it any wonder the fight, flight nervous system is in over drive leaving us little or no threshold for self-regulation when something doesn’t quite go to plan? All of the ‘over the top’ responses that we hear about now days to small and trivial incidents. To create a bigger threshold between our ‘’normal” state of being and our “alarmed” state of being, we have to feel safe, confident and content so that the stress chemicals subside.
Living in the power of our own presence means that we are aware of ourselves, we know our M.O. We understand who we are under pressure, in good times and in difficult situations. We know when and where the grasping delusional fear ridden mind will rise up and what is going to happen when it does. We learn to measure how deep and how wide our normal versus our stress threshold is so we know when to retreat to safety and where to look for nourishment.
A yoga practice is so much more than having a good stretch.
Join us for some classes soon. School opens on Monday 14 January. New Student class times here.
Letting go of the fight response and understanding that the mind can influence the pain response was the first step. Appreciating that my body has served me extremely well through 60 years of exertion and should not be expected to perform like a 30 year old, came next. That meant accepting my limits with a new calmness and humility rather than anguish and stress.
Practically speaking, when we are stiff in our hips and hamstrings our knees and ankles are ‘punished’. At some stage it is better to be accountable/aware of how to work with our hamstrings and hips so that the knees and ankles are able to get on with their work. It’s also the case in twisting poses that people twist into the flexible areas of their spine and in doing so completely miss the area that needs to be ‘accountable’: we are slipping around a stiffness and there will be consequences.
Our yoga classes for children have been running for 4 years and some of the feedback we get from parents and also teachers is amazing and encouraging. Children experience stress for lots of different reasons and yoga helps them to 'discharge' it through physical movements and also through breathing exercises and meditation.