Do you know how our physiology impacts our psychology?
Yoga is the science behind understanding what is happening within our bodies by experiencing a calmness of mind that allows us to experience very nuanced realities within our body. With yoga and self-awareness, we can experience the mind-body-spirit connection. According to Bhaskar Goswami my podcast guest for episode #34 of the Self-Care Goddess podcast a healthy body, peaceful mind and a compassionate heart are the foundations of skillful living.
What is skillful living? How can we practice it in our everyday life?
Skillful living is our feeling of contentment, joy, and success which is independent of any external circumstances. There are people who are rich enough to own private jets yet they are not happy inside because they frequently experience anger, frustration and irritability. Then there are people who live in slums but they have the sense of health, peace and happiness. This means that the key to skillful living is the very simple realization, that when we are experiencing pleasant sensations that is a successful life. When we are experiencing unpleasant sensations, that is an unsuccessful life, regardless of any external circumstances or possessions or lack of. The one fundamental thing that all sentient beings have in common is that we move towards pleasure and we move away from pain. We arrive into this life with a breath, we leave with our last breath. In the middle, we have a bunch of breaths and the more fluid and smooth those breaths are, the more successful life is.
For insightful information on breathwork as a meditation tool read my blog post titled “Conscious Breathing YOUR First Pillar of Self-Care”
In my podcast conversation Bhaskar explains that in challenging situations it is best to not respond right away and acknowledge that these polarizing times may bring out negative tendencies to the best of us. Develop a sense of compassion that we’re all doing our best with who we are and what we know. Gurdjieff an Eastern European mystic says that when somebody disturbs our inner peace, resulting in anger, fear or frustration, before responding, buy time by taking a good night’s sleep and respond the next morning. When we wake up in the morning and revert; there will be increased clarity, clearer perspective and insight along with a richness in the texture of that response.
How to cope with anger, anxiety and fear?
Today we are inundated by people who are going through tremendous fear and anxiety. Amidst these uncertain times the tough decisions and difficulties in our relationships, health, career and social lifestyles are very self-evident. The amount of discomfort inside people and uncomfortable emotions creates a contraction in the body. Our body is made up of four elements:
All the physical is earth, all the liquid is water. Water has a binding cohesive quality while fire is the hottest sensation and air is to do with movement. When we say somebody is depressed or we have a heavy heart, it is the earth element. When somebody feels resentful or jealous, they feel tight, that’s the water element. When somebody is angry or raging is a predominance of the fire element. When somebody is afraid or trembling in fear this is the air element.
Thus, our emotions are the play of characteristics of these elements inside our body and is usually a combination of all these elements.
Watch and benefit from my Breath Awareness Meditation video.
So how can we manage these emotions? Through Pranayama practice. Pranayama is a very simple, pragmatic and highly effective way of regulating our inner environment. I invite you to treat every un resourceful emotion is like a cloud passing by, and avoid engaging with it, acknowledge it without judgement. The good news is that we can transmute these emotions. For example, anger is a very powerful energy inside our body. Most of us either express it by shouting, screaming breaking stuff and saying mean things or we repress it by putting on a fake smile. However, we can take the energy of anger and transmute it to something very creative, loving & beautiful, or release it through conscious intention. This is a kind of mindset mastery where we are no longer getting hijacked, hypnotized and captured by the whirlpool of anger, we can just see the anger coming and going and it is no longer overpowering us. Observe your emotions as a transient thing and learn not to obsess over the source of anger, just be aware of it with loving awareness, which means that we don’t incite or entertain it, we just acknowledge without judgement.
TOXIC PEOPLE: Do we eliminate them, limit exposure to them, or re-embrace the toxicity?
Bhaskar says that framing people as toxic or not toxic is not helpful for us. We can say they are resonant or dissonant for better understanding. There are some people we resonate with right away and are fun to hang out with. However, sometimes the opposite can happen and cause dissonance because we don’t share the same vibes. We must understand that behind every unwholesome action, physical or verbal, there is an unwholesome and unpleasant feeling. And behind every unpleasant feeling, there’s an unmet need. And behind every unmet need, there is an ignorance. In western and eastern psychology, there are essentially six basic needs:
- Need for safety
- Need for a sense of freedom
- Need for validation or approval
- Need for connection
- Need to express ourselves fully
- Need for sacred connection
When these or some of these needs are not met, then we have unpleasant feelings, and it creates unpleasant actions. For example; if we take away my need for safety, I feel fear. If we take away the need for validation, I feel some kind of resentment. If we take away the need for love, I feel depression and sadness.
According to Bhaskar there’s no need to look at people as toxic or not toxic. They have the exact same mechanism that we have. We must look beyond the behavior and feelings, to look at the energy and need that they have and serve that need. The laws of nature are such that when we serve somebody else’s need, it makes us feel good. Selfless service is the highest feeling of fulfillment and can be as simple as giving a hug or a smile.
Listen to Steph Magenta’s inspirational journey on episode #17 “Overcoming Addiction, Crime & Sex Work Through Self-Care”.
Take Home Message
In my amazing podcast conversation, we share numerous life-changing strategies for skillful living. Bhaskar advices us to take time to invest in our body, mind, heart and spirit. We must be Self-Aligned such that life becomes an expression of happiness and joy and not a seeking of it. There are five ingredients to overcome uncertainty and ambiguity that may be causing unpleasant sensations in our body.
- A healthy body
- A calm mind
- A compassionate heart
- Source connection
- A caring community
These five things are like medicine and we must do what we need to do for healthy body calm mind, compassionate heart source connection, caring community. These five ingredients are aligned with the Savoia Self-Care 6 Pillars of Self-Care that I have created.