Navigating change

Change is inevitable, think of change of the seasons and tides – not the mention the adjustments we all had to make due to Covid-19.

Sometimes change is forced upon us and sometimes we initiate it. 

Both are equally scary and can bring up core survival fears, which can surface in many ways: health issues, nightmares, escapist behaviour such as overeating, indecision or to leap out of the situation without a plan, just to get the whole thing over with.

How can yoga help us in navigating change?

The philosophy (bible) of yoga was first written down more than 2,500 years ago by Patanjali.  It is called ‘Yoga Sutras’ and it contains 196 succulent aphorisms and covers all aspect of life and guides the yogi through the eight limbs (or stages) of practice.

In Chapter 1 the 2nd phrase states: ‘Yoga is the cessation of movements in the consciousness’ or the aim of yoga is to calm the mind, to stop the fluctuations of the mind.

Yoga in its widest sense – can give us the strength and insight we need to navigate change.  The skills we learn in our poses (strength, flexibility, stamina and practicing within our limits) are useful tools off the mat.

Below are some steps which might help you:

  1. View the change as an initiation.  Think back to situations where you managed the change and learnt from it, maybe you came out stronger.
  2. The more you can be present with uncertainty the more you can let the change process take place.
  3. Self-inquiry is the core yogic process for navigating change.  Consider what would be the best outcome for all concerned.  Write it down and analyze.
  4. Set your intention (sankalpa), an affirmative statement about what you intend to do to achieve the best outcome.  Some call this goal setting. Consider the pros and cons.
  5. Take action, one step at a time so you avoid feeling overwhelmed.  The very heart of yoga practice is steady effort.
  6. Practice letting go.  Let yourself grieve the losses or allow yourself to feel anxious.  Use every exhalation as a way to letting go of what you do not need.
  7. Visualize the positive outcome of the change and how you will feel about it.
  8. Combine stronger yoga practice with restorative poses.
  9. Keep a routine of getting up and going to bed, eating regular meals and enjoy sunshine. Walking barefoot is good for grounding and strengthens the muscles of your feet, walk on sand or grass.

I stress out easily but regular yoga practice over 30 years helped me with the management of change and keeping the associated anxiety at bay.

Try one of these restorative poses. I do the ‘legs resting on a chair’ before going to bed at night.

Good luck with managing the next change in your life!

Published by yogateachermary

Yoga teacher - specializing in teaching over 50's, seniors and the not so supple. Qualified 'Relax and Renew' teacher, mediation facilitator and experienced in teaching chair yoga in class or in retirement villages.

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