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. One of the biggest beliefs going in our culture right now is the belief of “not enough.”
In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown opens her first chapter by asserting the greatest cultural influence of our time is scarcity. We have a huge belief in “never enough” Fill in the
blank. Never _____ enough. Never good enough. Never perfect enough. Never thin enough. Never powerful enough. Never successful enough. Never smart enough. Never certain enough. Never safe enough.
We think we don’t have enough time and money. We believe we aren’t good enough parents, professionally, friends, sisters, brothers, daughters or sons. We don’t think we’re powerful enough, beautiful enough or special enough.
Brene Brown says we waking up in the morning thinking we didn’t get enough sleep and thinking we don’t have enough time. When we go to bed at night we go over all the things we didn’t get done and all the things we didn’t get. The thought of “not enough” consumes us so fully that we don’t even question it.
Brene Brown points out that in our culture everyone is aware of lack in our culture. This is because as a culture we are focused externally for fulfillment rather than internally. We assess and compare ourselves with media driven celebrity versions of perfection.
The Yoga Sutras say that “Misunderstand comes when perception is unclear or tinted.” [1.8] “Perception of our nature is often obscured by physical, mental and emotional imbalances. These imbalances can promote restlessness, uneven breathing, worry and even loss of hope.” [1.30-31] Our media and advertising has our psyche in such a state of anxiety, that it is time to start questioning the values that are being fed to us.
The yoga sutras states that “These imbalances can be prevented from engaging by developing loyalty to a sacred practice.” [1.32] and that “The yogi’s heart remains pure and unaffected by its surroundings” [1:41] How does this happen? Through a practice called, pratyaraha – encouraging your senses to draw inward through asana (postures) and pranayama (breath). Also the yamas, the moral principles for interacting with the world encourage us to reflect on our true nature further.
Satya – truthfulness asks us, what is the truth? Isn’t the truth that we do have enough? Aparigraha reminds us that we do have enough.
Props Needed: Chair, Bolster, Blocks, Blanket
Yoga Asanas/Postures: Supported Fish Pose/Matsyasana, Jathara Parivartanasana/Reclined Twist, Balasana/Child’s Pose, Side Bend, Savasana with legs elevated.