Cultural Conditioning is the social process in which authority figures such as parents, professors, politicians, religious leaders, peers, and the media define our cultural values, beliefs, ethical systems, and ultimately the way we perceive ourselves in the world. The second perception we are going to deconstruct is our addiction to busy. This is another one that Brene Brown points out in her book Daring Greatly. She says we are obsessed with being busy. We actually numb out on busy.
Invite this awareness of the addiction to busy as you move throughout your day. Notice your inclination to always be doing something – and not just one thing but multiple things. We pride ourselves on multi-tasking. Can you just sit and have your breakfast or do you have to be, reading a book, watching TV or checking your email on your PDA at the same time? Can you simply stand in line at the grocery store or do you have to pick up a magazine, check Facebook make a phone call or perform some other task while you are “waiting”? Notice your schedule, is it rammed full every second filled with appointments and activities? Do you have down time and blank space on your calendar? When somebody asks you how you are, how often do you respond, “ I’ve been so busy!” We wear our identification as busy like a badge of honour. If we stopped we might have to check in with how we really feel in our bodies, minds, emotions and spirits. Busy allows us to numb out so we don’t have to feel.
Then we come to yoga class and the teacher asks us to be still. This goes against our cultural conditioning to stay busy, it feels uncomfortable. I can’t tell you the number of times people have asked me to give them something to “do” while I talk at the beginning. So what do we do when we come to yoga? We tune out the voices of culture which are encouraging us to work longer hours to produce more to buy more things that we might not even need and tune inwards – this is called pratyahara – turning your senses inwards. The easiest way to do this is to focus on your breathing. Follow your breath as it moves into your body and notice your breath as it moves out of your body. It is that simple. Breathe and notice your breath. There is no need to fix or change your breath. There is no better or best way to breathe in this moment. Just notice your breath. Be busy noticing your breath. When your mind tells you this is a waste of time, come back to your breath.
Reflect on all the ways you numb out on busy in your life and set an intention for what you would like to receive in this yoga class.
Yoga Asanas/Postures: Alternate Nostril Breathing/nadi shodhana, Reclined Side Bend/supta ardha chandrasana, Reclined Alligator Twist/ Supta Matsyendrasana, Lunge pose/Anjaneyasana, Side Bend/Ardha Chandrasana, Tree Pose/Vrkasana, Downward Facing Dog/Adho Mukha Svanasana, Bharadvajasana/Zigzag Twist, Janusirsasana/Bent leg Forward, Alternate Nostril Breathing/nadi shodhana
Props Needed: Block or Bolster, Blanket, Meditation Cushion or Chair for Sitting