Whether you are parenting infants and teens or managing a team of employees, your ultimate goal is to develop their self-determination — the skills and choices that lead to healthy, happy, humane living. Simply stated but not easily accomplished because most humans are busy attempting to control their outer environments instead of their inner experiences. When did we take up the irrational belief we could control the weather, the earth, the economy or other people?
At best, through wise moment-to-moment choices, we ready ourselves to adapt to what emerges from our external environment. Actually, this is good news because it removes so much false responsibility off our shoulders. However, for all who like to think themselves in control of something — you can control everything about yourselves from your skin to within. So for all you control freaks (and you know who you are), you just have to shift your focus.
There is not one muscle in the body over which [wo]man cannot
establish a perfect control. The heart can be made to stop or go
on his[her] bidding, and each part of the organism can be similarly
controlled. Swami Vivekananda
Oh, by the way, western science has finally caught up with eastern yogi philosophy and practice. It only took 4000 years, but hey, better late than never. Western medicine is gradually recognizing that with practice, we can control our body. Not only are we capable of fine-tuned motor control (think athletics), we are also capable of fine-tuning our emotions and thoughts (psychotherapy, counselling, coaching).
In my late-twenties, I experienced severe depression, which I treated with therapeutic counselling. The therapy helped me to understand some of the underlying reasons for the depression and returned me to a functioning human being. The depression taught me that I needed to learn how to heal myself, which led me on a decade-long journey for tools that would help me accomplish self-healing (self-determination). That subsequent search, which I coined my journey to joy, resulted in a daily practice of yoga and meditation.
From personal experience, I can say both tools, along with writing, reduced and eliminated anxiety and depression from my body and mind. Just in case your medical practitioners are not saying this to you loudly enough — you can heal yourself without depending on a life-long cocktail of drugs.
Because humans are comprised of body, mind and spirit, any self-healing modality needs to work with all three systems. For instance, massage is a wonderful physical therapy, thereby reducing emotional tension as well. However, it does not teach us how to master our mind (thoughts and emotions), and ultimately, we are dependent on an outside source.
Similarly, psychotherapy is a wonderful mental and emotional therapy, thereby reducing the potential of new physical ailments in the body. However, it does not teach us how to master our body and use it as the early warning messenger it is meant to be.
Yoga and meditation, on the other hand, are practices we can administer to ourselves, and they teach us to replace dysfunctional habits of thought, emotion and action with healthy ones. Isn’t this what we want to teach our children, our employees?
- strengthening and stretching the muscles, tissues and organs
- realigning the skeleton and spine
- lubricating and creating space in the joints
- releasing unconscious muscular gripping
- relaxing and rejuvenating the nervous system
- increasing inner experience awareness
Yoga’s meditation practice rehabilitates the mind and spirit by:
- slowing/controlling the mind and lifting the mood
- enhancing concentration and maintaining focus
- fostering serenity and freedom from suffering
- promoting positive emotional expression
- increasing inner experience awareness
Which of these benefits would your body, mind and spirit love to experience?
For more information on self-determination, yoga and meditation practices, click here.