It’s always interesting when I recognise another way in which yoga asana practice informs my every day life. The yoga I teach looks pretty simple. We spend a lot of time lying on the floor, making slow, repetitive movements. Lying on the floor is an excellent place to start because the body is fully supported and not having to bear too much weight.
One of the lightbulb moments on connecting yoga to the science of happiness and wellbeing was a workshop with Peter Blackaby. He talked about how yoga helps us to rewrite our neural pathways around our bodies. And a key part of my happiness studies talked about the same thing. Dr Richard Davidson in particular talks about how happiness can be learnt by repeatedly doing something different until it becomes our new natural response. Blackaby went on to explain how, by making changes in our body movement, it sends a signal to our brain that it can do the same.
In the yoga that I teach, we do the repetitive movement, re-writing those neural pathways when we’re lying down because it’s easy. And once we have that muscle memory written in an easy situation, we’re more likely to be able to put those same movements, that same posture in place when we’re doing something more difficult, like Downward Facing Dog or Warrior.
The same is true when it comes to alleviating our stress and anxiety. The best time to learn the techniques for dealing with difficult things is BEFORE they happen. It’s when we’re actually feeling ok or even good. We learn things when it’s easy, so that they are easy when times are harder.
In the third month of Find Your Focus we look at one of my favourite things, getting a good routine and forming better habits. We look at different coping strategies when we feel overwhelmed. We learn how to use the breath, and light, and grounding, and self-contact. And we think about ways that stress can be really good for us too!
The doors for The Satisfaction Revolution close again on 4th December so that the group can study together for the whole season. Is it time you found your focus?