By Valerie Lucas E-RYT, YACEP of The Golden Mind Project
Beyond the physical practice, yoga provides a means to conscious, skillful living in the world. Curveballs are inevitable, but with awareness, the right tools and practice, you can begin to navigate life’s chaos with greater ease.
One tool that yoga imparts is a map called The Voyage of Transformation. Maps are useful because they allow you to identify where you are and where you are going. The way this map looks is this:
1. Normal - you are cruising along; everything is smooth and wonderful.
2. Change/Challenge - something disrupts the flow of your life. (eg - loss of a job, car breaks down, etc)
3. Resistance - there is a feeling of wanting everything to go back to the way it was before the discomfort.
4. Chaos - fears surface, life feels unstable, there is an uncomfortable sense of uncertainty.
5. Space - the ability to step back and hold space for yourself to take conscious action.
6. Integration - you have new insight and an expanded awareness; resistance is no longer present.
7. New Normal - your new insights are put into action and you show up in a new way.
8. Repeat - the cycle begins again …
Where many people get stuck is between resistance and chaos. Do you know someone that is still complaining about something that happened years ago? Complaining is a clear sign that you are stuck in resistance.
If you find that you are in a state of resistance/chaos:
1. Pause – break the cycle.
2. Deepen your breath.
3. Soften your shoulders, jaw, etc.
4. Give yourself space to feel what is present for you.
5. Be as specific and objective as possible (I feel a shortness of breath; I feel myself shaking; I feel heat rising within; I feel an urge to scream, etc.).
6. Allow the intensity to pass.
7. Repeat if necessary, until a new normal is created.
Having the awareness that everything in life is cyclical (and being able to identify that you are in a state of resistance or chaos) is the first step to being empowered in your course of action. The ability to honor and own where you are in the cycle (without judgment) and the willingness to step into a life of inquiry (a life which welcomes challenges as opportunities for growth) allows the opportunity for transformation and greater ease when you are in fact faced with a curveball.
Valerie Lucas is passionate about sharing the tools of yoga beyond the yoga mat. She is committed to living a life of authenticity and alignment that highlights the importance of self-inquiry and transformation and empowers her students to step into their own personal power. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband and their 3-year old son where she leads Yoga Teacher Trainings, yoga teacher mentoring, and specialty workshops and retreats.