People often think of yoga as something to be practiced on a mat, in a studio, led by a yoga teacher. While the physical practice of yoga often starts in a studio. Soon we find ourselves wanting or perhaps needing more, the postures may create the desire to seek peace off the mat.
My first yoga teacher used to say “take your yoga off the mat and into your life”. The very statement seems ludicrous to a new yoga student. “I can’t do Warrior One at the office or Savasana during a meeting.” “How then do I take yoga off the mat?”
For the next several weeks I will be sharing with you simple ways to find peace in your everyday life. Super easy ways to stay calm, react better and in the end feel greater personal freedom.
In every work place there are people we perceive as difficult, they seem to be able to push our buttons and drive us into temporary insanity. Often it gets to the point that when we hear them coming towards our space, we tense up and feel angry. We wish they would change, leave us alone or better yet get fired. We wonder how they keep their job and why they seem to go out of their way to make our life difficult. Once in a while we feel lucky because they are transferred or they quit. We have a brief time of calm and then there seems to magically appear a new person who drives us equally as nuts. We carry these people on our backs, we talk about them, and we even bring them to bed with us.
Yoga could be the answer to dealing with difficult people. The first and most important lesson we need to learn is that we have no control over other people. They are not going to change, don’t have to change and perhaps even think you are the one who needs to change, they may think you are the difficult person. What we do have control over, is how we react to difficult people, how much of the negative energy we take on and how much space they take up in our heads.
Here is a story I love that illustrates part of my point; two traveling monks reached a river where they met a young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed.
As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. “Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!”
“Brother,” the second monk replied, “I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her.”
So in this the first week I share with you one way to set that difficult person down at the side of the river rather than carrying that person home with you.
The first technique is simply to pause, breathe in deeply and exhale slowly, do this several times before you have contact with that challenging person. Take 5 to 10 long slow breathes before you pick up the phone, read an email from them, or head to their office. Stop, breathe slowly in and out, centre yourself and remind yourself that you are in control of your reactions.
Not convinced? Here is expert information from the www. yogajournal.com
How does slower breathing help? In stressful times, we typically breathe too rapidly. This leads to a buildup of oxygen in the bloodstream and a corresponding decrease in the relative amount of carbon dioxide, which in turn upsets the ideal acid-alkaline balance—the pH level—of the blood. This condition, known as respiratory alkalosis, can result in muscle twitching, nausea, irritability, light-headedness, confusion, and anxiety.
In contrast, slowing the breath raises the carbon dioxide level in the blood, which nudges the pH level back to a less alkaline state. As the blood’s pH changes, the parasympathetic nervous system calms us in a variety of ways, including telling the vagus nerve to secrete acetylcholine, a substance that lowers the heart rate.
Slow steady breathing, not only gives our parasympathetic nervous system time to calm us but also gives us time to quiet the storm clouds of emotions that often block us from making rational decisions.
I am in control of my reactions.