By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
Everyone can lose their temper; even long time Yoga teachers can become angry, so what is the secret to becoming a “peace maker.” For some people, being even tempered is a gift. They were born cool, calm, and collected, but there is also a formula for “keeping the peace.” Adults are much better at this than children; children are sometimes proud of their temper tantrums. Yet, most adults learn to control their tempers and to avoid potential conflicts – even though anger and conflict are a daily part of life.
Hormones can also “come into play” at certain points in our lives. For example: A chemical reaction to testosterone, within the body, is not so easy to control; but consider any of the following strategies for living a peaceful life with more control and less anger. How often could a major conflict have been avoided if we thought first and spoke later? Some people travel through life, talking without thinking, all the time. Remember that once words are spoken, they cannot be erased from the minds of others. The spoken word has the potential to hurt others for the rest of their lives.
When people talk without thinking, they encounter many conflicts, and they really do not know why. Sometimes, they become “mad at the world,” as a result of their daily conflicts with others. This can cause a chain reaction where counseling for anger management may have to be sought. We should never rule out professional help, but let’s look at a Yogic solution for establishing control of our speech – by listening to others, without talking.
Mindfulness meditation is one method, but we are going to “raise the bar” of difficulty for your benefit. If you need to practice this, spend more time meditating in public places. At first, you should do this alone, because you should practice silence. If you absolutely need company, take a companion who sees the benefits of silence and mindfulness meditation sessions.
During your meditation sessions, learn to listen to the world without judgment. Take in all the sounds of people, traffic, and animals, as an observer. You could do this on a park bench, with your eyes open, or during a walking meditation session. Take in all of the disturbances without a care in the world. Meditation in public is not easy, but you can learn to do it all the time, without telling anyone. If someone talks to you, all you have to do is pause from meditating, without judgment, and answer them calmly. Then, after your conversation has ended, go back to your meditation.
Walking meditation is even more difficult because you learn to observe the world without making judgments, as you are in motion. You should be familiar with the course you walk, observe traffic, and be safe. For this method, it is wise to avoid traffic, if possible. The main purpose of both of the previous mentioned methods is for you to listen, observe, be silent, and be courteous. Always avoid judging, and this will carry over into your daily life. Do not practice mindfulness meditation when operating machinery of any kind. Always consider your safety, and never take risks during meditation sessions. If you find these methods to be too difficult, you can always practice silence in a Yoga class or meditation retreat.
Side Notes For Yoga Teachers:
Yoga workshops, for students of all ages, are an opportunity for practitioners to learn and apply life skills. Anger management and mindfulness are priceless skills for adults and children to acquire. Once a method is learned, Yoga students could apply and test it within the workshop. The only way to test and apply is to create a mock situation. Much like everything we learn in Yoga practice, the only measurement of success is when a person gains self-mastery by changing behavior patterns for the best.
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