Welcome to a new year of blogging from The Yoga Room. Join me as I continue my journey of creating understanding, increasing awareness and strengthening connection with yourself and your body!
Two things happened over the last few weeks which got me thinking about what my Yoga Mum response would be.
A dear friend (who is also a busy, working mum of five) asked me if it was ever legitimate to lose your cool. One of her kids was having a hard time in school and she had played nice, but wasn’t getting anywhere. Only when she gave the head of school a piece of her mind (to put it mildly), did someone start to pay attention. In the same week, I read a fascinating post on Facebook about how kids, teenagers and parents communicate with each other. The punch line for me was
“Then mums say the words ‘for f*%k sake’ under their breath before every responding. It’s how we communicate.”
As some of you may know (I have written about this before), I am not the calmest person in the world and my husband often encourages me to use “my yoga voice” when communicating with our children ;). Having yoga in my life has definitely helped me become more aware of how I use my voice, especially when I need to forcefully get my message across. It is not 100% foolproof but I am trying hard to implement my yoga voice in more places than just The Yoga Room!
But the above two events got me thinking about the way women communicate to assert themselves and get the job done. It is common place for us to lose our cool at home, when the juggling, multi-tasking and stress become overwhelming and the kids are just not listening. At work it may be a less frequent occurrence as we don’t want to be labeled a diva, demanding or difficult! And when we see that we are not getting the best for our kids, whether it be at school or in any other setting, our protective Mama Bear persona may appear, ensuring that everyone hears us roar to protect the welfare of our children.
While ALL of the above responses are legitimate and have been practiced by this Yoga Mum in the past, I want to suggest that they are all REACTIVE and RESPONSIVE behaviours that only serve to Fuel the Crazy rather than “Calm the Crazy” (See March 2018 Blog).
As a teacher and practitioner of Yoga Nashit – Yoga for Women’s Health, my journey is about helping women strengthen their body-mind connection and live in a place of understanding and awareness. Why do you feel some days able to take on the world and other days you want to crawl under the covers? When faced with a challenging or unexpected situation, are you able to stablise yourself and ensure that you respond in a level-headed way. Do you to manage the juggle and multi-tasking so that you can be calm and relaxed around your kids, family, friends and colleagues? And does being a “Yogi” mean that you are NEVER allowed to lose your cool!?
In my opinion, it all centers around asking yourself some key questions in the moment:
Is losing your cool or stressing out in a situation a reactive or PROACTIVE and MINDFUL response?
Is your behaviour a result of present frustration or thoughtful consideration?
How will your words and actions feel to you later on in the day or tomorrow, when the adrenaline rush has abated?
What are your intended results and are they best achieved with a reactive or proactive response?
This all sounds well and good if we lived in an ideal world where we had the time and the where-with-all to ask these questions in the moment. However most of our reactive decisions are made with little prep-time!
I want to suggest that everyone has the ability to assess a situation and ask themselves these questions BEFORE they respond.
AND all your need is 60 seconds of deep breathing!
More and more research is coming out showing the life changing benefits of deep breathing. Deep breathing fundamentally changes the way your nervous system works by stimulating the para-sympathetic nervous system which lowers your blood pressure, balances your hormone level and naturally reduces the stress hormones. Even a minute or two of deep breathing (breathing into your lungs and using your diaphragm) in the moment, can work wonders. This gives you a couple of minutes to put things into perspective and make a proactive, mindful decision about the best response in a situation. The situation may STILL require a “losing it” response. But at least you would have made that decision consciously, rather than reactively.
Regular Yoga Nashit practice helps you to develop a range of breathing tools and techniques, so that they become more familiar to you, and you are able to call on them easily in moments of stress. I know that many women don’t have an hour and half a week to take a full Yoga Nashit class. However we all have 60 seconds to prepare ourselves before we lose our sh&%!