Last week I was collecting information about a program I am set to begin in February and I received some news that I did not like. I found myself becoming extremely angry. It was the type of anger that you can feel in your whole body. It was so overwhelming that I had to take a moment to step back and ask myself a few important investigative questions; “Why am I so angry? What is this really about? How can I change my reaction?”
These are questions we learn to ask from a young age when we are exploring or investigating external events, but we do not always think of them when we are doing our own “internal investigation”. Who, What, Where, Why and How are all very important questions but this past week I became specifically focused on the “Wonderment of the Why”. When we ask that powerful question, “Why?” often we uncover valuable information about ourselves that help us make mindful decisions. This became my message for my classes this past week.
As we began the initial warm up of our bodies on the mat, I shared this process of exploration or “internal investigative reporting” with my students. I encouraged them to practice it in their bodies; to ask the questions that lead us to mindfulness… WHO are we as we arrive on the mat today? WHAT do we really need to let go of, explore, accept in our bodies today? WHERE are we–are we able to be Present in our bodies and mind on the mat? and then we come to the “Wonderment of the Why”… “WHY did we choose this path today? WHY are we experiencing the emotions or sensations in body and mind as we flow through our practice today?” With all of this investigating, the answer to our “How” becomes more clear… “HOW do we make the mindful choice?”
As we prepared for our Sun Salutes the led us into various prep poses for Grasshopper (which requires deep twisting coupled with strong abdominals–pictured above), I asked my students to continue their own investigative reporting by again asking those questions and exploring the “Wonderment of the Why”.
Off the mat, we have the same opportunity. When faced with challenging situations we can choose to investigate. We can ask–WHO- “Who are the players here? Is it current me or is there some past “me” participating here?”, WHAT- “What is really going on? What factors are contributing to my reaction? , WHERE- “Where am I in my head right now? Am I distracted or am I present? Is what is happening about this actual moment or is past experience skewing the present?”, WHY- “With all of this information, can I now determine why am I reacting the way I am? Is it fear, sadness or frustration that is driving my anger?”. Once we determine this we can answer the HOW– “How do I make the mindful choice?”
As I did this investigation for myself, I uncovered that my anger came from fear. With that realization, the anger dissipated very quickly, my heart rate began to normalize and my body temperature lowered. With this internal investigative reporting I was able set a clear path for myself and make a mindful choice. So often, especially in times of stress (which we are all experiencing right now) this can be difficult. It takes a moment to investigate but it is worth it.
As we entered into final backbends and supine spinal twists and then prepared for Savasana, I reminded my students that what we practice on the mat, we can take with us off of it. As they settled into their final rest I asked them to identify a situation off the mat that that might be served with some “investigative reporting”…to ask those important questions in order to discover the mindful choice. As we sat together in our final meditation, I thanked them for their willingness to investigate themselves, to bring mindfulness into their world and for allowing me to be part of that practice for them. It is one of my greatest joys. Namaste.