Every single day, life comes our way, bringing with it a variety of situations that may not always be pleasant. We always have a choice about what we do as a result. Let’s talk about how you can learn to respond – rather than react – to the things that are going on around you. This is also something we can teach kids, and just think of how they can benefit throughout their lives by learning about this at a young age!
We all have moments, in our day to day lives, where we feel overwhelmed or stressed. In those moments that’s where it’s more likely that we would react to something that happens, to react to something that someone does or says to us, rather than respond.
And that can lead to unnecessary conflict – perhaps doing or saying something that we don’t really mean.
But, if we had taken the time to be a little bit thoughtful around it, and create some space, we might have chosen something different as our response.
When we have tools to access, and we practice the skills that will help us to respond – rather than react – to the things that happen to us in our day to day lives, we really can grow … grow in our communication skills and in our relationships with others.
We can then find ourselves free of getting into those unnecessary conflicts that might have come because of the way that we reacted, rather than responded, in our own words and our own actions.
Something that we can practice to help us to get better at responding rather than reacting is mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply awareness, in a non-judgmental way, of everything that’s going on around us in any given moment.
It’s a quality of inner stillness that we can find by simply sitting and being quiet and noticing.
And one way that we can practice mindfulness is through breathing.
And if we just breathe but also really pay attention to that breathing, it helps us to be able to bring that into our everyday lives and take a pause – creating that space between something that happens AND how we would respond to it.
Take a few mindful breaths following the steps below or watch the video to hear me lead you through this practice.
When I share this with people, to begin with, I like to use the visual in the picture. And this, I like to call my breath ball. It’s actually called a Hoberman sphere, and I use it to illustrate breathe in and breathe out.
Kids really respond to this technique as well.
TAKE A MINDFUL MOMENT: Do this yourself, and share the tools and practice with someone you love!
Step 1 – Visualize this breath ball slowly opening and closing.
Step 2 – Allow your breath to sync up with the opening and closing of the breath ball. Breathing in, when it opens, breathing out, as it closes. Take the whole length of the inhale to allow it to expand completely, and the whole length of the exhale to help it close.
Take this as an anatomy teaching moment for kids: think of the lungs expanding with the inhale as the ball expands, and then deflating with the exhale as the ball gets smaller.
Step 3 – Encourage yourself to get quiet – in your body, mind, and heart – and come back to your breath as an anchor if you get distracted.
And when we get quiet, sometimes the mind can get a little bit busy.
If that’s happening for you right now as you’re breathing in and breathing out you could actually say the words, silently to yourself – breathing in, breathing out. When you practice this mindful breathing on purpose – every day or even just a few times a week or whenever you need a moment to slow down – it becomes so much easier for you to do that automatically.
In your day to day interactions, you’ll be much more likely to stop and pause and take a deep breath, which then allows you to respond – rather than react – to something that might have happened to you in your environment.
If you have any questions, you can always reach out. I hope that this has been helpful for you today and hope that you have a fantastic day.
Amy will be co-directing Making Yoga Philosophy Accessible to Kids, with Usha Lakshmi. This course is part of Pranakriya’s 300-hour program and 95-hour Kids Yoga School.
It will be Pranakriya’s first course offering in 2021. Early Bird discount available through 12/15/2020, with coupon code: eb3daykyp
All courses offered by Pranakriya in 2021 are taking place in a live-stream virtual format.