Decisions, decisions. I sometimes make decisions a little to dramatic for my own liking. I'm not sure if it is just part of who I am, or if I like the dramatic? I know that deep down inside I always know the best answer. As do we all, I think! For the most part we are afraid or we just aren't listening. If we decide on one thing or the other, who knows what could happen. When it comes to making decisions if we could be more present in the process and allow our breath and our bodies to listen for us everything could be much easier. This starts with the basic decision of what to eat or not to the big life decisions.
Let's take purchasing items for example. Some people buy, buy, buy without giving a thought to what they already have. They buy because of want, because of desire, not because of necessity. I used to be like that. Closets (yes closets) full of clothes I never wore and shoes that weren't comfortable. Now I find shopping is a chore. I struggle before buying something a simple as a t-shirt. I think the struggle for random items is a good thing for me. It makes me more conscious about need vs. want. Doesn't mean that I don't buy something just because I like it. It just means that I am more present in the process rather than impulsively bringing things home that I don't love or don't need. I don't succumb to sales as much, it's not a deal if you don't need it! I think if we were all more conscious about our decisions to consume people wouldn't be in debt and we would value what we have more. I take the same approach to things I already own, going through my closet (now one closet) and home about once a month and discarding things that I no longer need or use. I find that this extra space in my home makes my breathing space bigger and my body happier.
Food is another thing that causes huge anxiety in the decision making process for a lot of people, including me. Maybe this too is more about being present in our choices as to what we put into our bodies. The decision making starts at the store as well as in our homes. It is about being more active in what you buy. Taking the time to consider what ingredients are in the foods that you purchase and put in your mouth. I could probably use a bit more discipline in this area. I don't always pay attention to what I am eating. I will sit at my computer or curl up with a book and before I know it I have eaten half a bag of chips - not good for my body. I am not saying you should deny yourselves the treats. But when the not so healthy food becomes a regular habit and not a special indulgence one has to ask "is it still a treat?" Using this example when going out for dinner or visiting friends. If I am about to eat a large piece of chocolate cake for example I have a few choices; one is that I can have a small piece instead of a great big huge one, the second is that after eating the small piece I can check in with my body and ask if it needs more. Not feel guilty about the amount, just enjoy and trust that I listened to my body. Asking your body when you've had enough and actually listening when it says yes or no.
When situations present themselves I often over think them. Rather than just deciding what to do or what not to do I spend hours and sometimes sleepless nights over analyzing simple decisions. I take into consideration other people in my life I often even consult those people or friends who will not be affected. I always know deep down what the right decision is, but I often ignore it or I look for other options. I know many people in my life do this same thing. Wondering and asking what the right thing is to do in any given situation be that big or small. The thing to consider here is that we won't know what will happen either way so decide one way or another and accept what happens given that decision. Trust your heart, mind and body to decide to do the right thing. Play with it, decide one moment to chose option A and see how your breath and your body feel, then for a moment chose option B and check in again. Ultimately we always know the right answer but are we brave enough to just decide?
How do we take the decision in our life onto the mat, or the decisions we make on the mat into our life? On the mat for example we can decide to push ourselves further than our body will like. The decision to push further can depend on many things, trying to impress your teacher, other students or your own ego getting in the way. One decides to take the pose or shape you are in an listen to your body when it tells you that enough is enough. The signs are always there. Sometimes obvious sensation of pain, either slight or deep. Other less obvious signs like the breath becoming more difficult or the body twisting in a way that puts you out of alignment. Often these signs present themselves and we either don't notice or we ignore them - which is sometimes the same thing.
When we do things like over eat, over shop or over think are we not ignoring our body. When presented with too many things that I think I want to buy or with unhealthy food choices or even over doing it in my yoga practice could I not check in with my body and my breath first? With decisions in my life I could stop consulting every possible angle and just go with my first initial feeling, after all that's usually what I end up doing anyways. With postures, taking it one small step at a time being where I am today and not yesterday and not thinking about where I'll be tomorrow. Trusting my body and my breath in everything I do. This I think is what it truly means to have a daily practice and to connect the body and the mind.
How does your decision process work? Are you mind/body conscious in your daily life and practice?
Jennifer is an RMT, long time yoga practitioner and teacher. Follow her musings as an RMT, yoga teacher, prenatal educator and mother of three.