Responding vs Reacting
Blog ~ Action ~ Resource
I continue to find I have great opportunities to practice responding vs reacting. I was first introduced to this idea while doing the Presence Process. This is the 10 week self-guided book I completed that helped me realize the importance of daily practice to connect to myself. I remember thinking that its pretty easy to respond instead of reacting but it turns out it continues to be a challenging practice for me.
Interestingly enough, this practice relates to the niyamas of yoga. They are the 2nd limb of yoga, the 5 niyamas (observances) which are the practices to help maintain a positive internal environment (body, mind, and spirit) to help progress us along the yogic path. I find it easier to understand if I can translate the practices into a practical language that I can better apply them to my life.
The interesting thing about yoga is that although I was primarily practicing asana (poses), the physical form of yoga, I was still receiving the more subtle messages. See if you can relate to the questions below. By the way, you don't need to practice yoga to have these benefits. You may notice these benefits coming from other self care practices you do.
1. Purification (shaucha)
Have you noticed less cravings for food or substances that aren't good for you?
Do you find you have a lower tolerance for violence and negativity?
Do you have a desire for your environment to be clean and find you want to get rid of things that don't bring you joy?
2. Contentment (samtosha)
Do you find it easier to see the good in people and situations?
Are you more grateful for the simple things in life?
Do experiences mean more to you than material things?
3. Self-discipline/will power (tapas)
Are you interested in improving bad habits or less than desirable personality traits?
Does the statement "Be the Change You Wish to See in The World" resonate with you?
Do you find your yoga practice becoming a priority in your daily or weekly schedule?
4. Self-study (svadhyaya)
Do you notice problems or frustrations appear to feel more like opportunities to grow and learn than annoyances?
Do you find yourself interested in hearing about someone else's personal journey with yoga or reading about yogic philosophy?
Do you desire to learn about who you are beyond your roles or job?
5. Devotion (ishvara pranidhana)
Do you feel more connected to nature, a higher power or whatever you may believe in?
Do you notice how interconnected the world is?
Are you aware of the key relationships/friendships that bring out the best in you?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, it likely means your yoga/self care practices are spreading beyond the physical into more subtle areas of your being. If you weren't able to relate to all questions, don't worry about it. Keep practicing and taking time to connect to yourself.
I find one of the best ways to access these practices of yoga or self care is through awareness and attention to one's physical body. As I have practiced calming my nervous system with breathing and writing practices, I have been better able to practice responding vs reacting. I have noticed I may still feel a reaction in my body but I am better able to respond with my words and actions. How can you use one or two of practices from above to help you respond vs react?