Self Awareness through Body Behaviour Workshop

Self Awareness through Body Behaviour Workshop
Body Behaviour Workshop in Tiruvannamalai

How often are we aware of our inner state of being?

Can we become aware of our emotions as they begin to arise, before they become a flood?

How do we monitor our daily thoughts and emotions?

How stressed and anxious are we in our daily routine?

Self awareness is a way of progress – both spiritual as well as material. Awareness of our inner state of being helps us identify and work through various phases in our lives. It helps us with keeping healthy relationships both with ourselves as well as with our loved ones.

Watching our thoughts can be a difficult and, at times, a most frustrating of endeavors. Luckily each of us have an anchor – the physical body. Our bodies not only help keep us grounded in the present moment but they are also perfect mirrors for all our thoughts – both conscious and subconscious.

Almost all of our body behaviour, be it a gesture, a movement, a posture, or an expression, is a reflection of our inner state of being. By learning to watch our body behaviour everyday, we gain access into the inner recesses of our emotional and mental states. We can become aware of our anxieties, our stress-related thoughts, our emotional tipping points, our inner fears and motivations. Over time, the practice can help us identify self-destructive and repeating patterns in which our lives sometimes seem to get caught in.

It also helps us have better interpersonal relationships as we learn to be more empathetic towards others around us because we can understand them beyond their spoken words and defensive behaviours.

IN THE WORKSHOP:

We will learn to observe ourselves and understand our gestures, postures, expressions, micro-expressions, and micro-gestures that we commonly exhibit in our daily routines.

We will examine various real life video footages of people to practically understand the body behaviour in various circumstances.

We will participate in discussions on moral/social/religious issues that can bring up various defensive and offensive gestures and behaviour in us. This will help us in watching our body behaviour as emotions and thoughts arise, flow and subside.

We will record and interpret videos of our introductions, discussions, and other physical activity we may participate in. In short, we deepen our awareness of ourselves.

WORKSHOP DATES:

25th March (Saturday) – 10 am till 6pm
26th March (Sunday) – 9am till 5pm
Participants will have to bring their own notebooks and stationary. If they want a copy of their recordings, then they are requested to bring their own usb drives on the second day.

*The workshop is limited to 8-10 participants only.

WORKSHOP FEE:

Gift Economy (you may pay from your heart whatever you are willing and able to)

Click the link for Registration: https://goo.gl/forms/R0L85AojTt0LMvVg1

About the facilitator – Kiran:

Kiran comes from a background of therapy and healing. He is a Hypnotherapist and a Reiki Healer with an experience of about 5 years. He has been conducting workshops on Non-verbal Behaviour for about eight years now.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Is this workshop same as a workshop on Body Language?

Body Language, of late, has come to mean manipulation of our body behaviour and appearance in order to project a false image of ourselves to gain advantage of a social or a professional situation. In such workshops we are encouraged to control and hide our original emotions and thoughts, and also to assume non-existent rapport with other persons for our own gain. Our workshop is different from it.

In fact, the opposite is encouraged here. An honest exploration of our body behaviour in order to unearth underlying emotions and thoughts is the focus of this workshop with a goal of eventual release of our self-limiting beliefs, fears, and blocked emotions.

Will I be taught how to better present myself in professional situations and impress others?

No. This workshop focuses on exploring our authentic selves beneath and beyond our social masks and images.

Who is eligible to participate?

Anyone with an interest in self-exploration and self-healing is welcome to join us. Age is no bar.

Can I control my emotions like anger and sorrow after this workshop?

When you say control, I am assuming you mean resolution. That is being able to resolve emotional issues. In that case, this workshop would be a good start, yes.

Here we learn to identify and become aware of our internal resistances and reactions. All ‘dark’ emotions start off as a resistance to an external situation and with body awareness we can identify them and examine the root causes of these emotions.

Awareness would be the emphasis of this workshop, since awareness is needed for any release/resolution. Do understand that in case of certain long-standing traumas and deeply blocked emotions you do need acceptance and surrender to your emotional state especially when the resolution/release begins.

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Emotional See Saw – The ‘Other’ Side That We Often Overlook

All emotional ups involve indulgence, identification with the emotion...
All emotional ups involve indulgence, identification with the emotion…

Anger and frustration are emotions of high energy. Unlike states like depression, these high energy emotions need immediate venting and they are hard to keep suppressed for long. We want to do something when we identify ourselves with those emotions. We become very impulsive and often do things that we regret later on.

In our attempts to healing them we usually overlook the intimate connection between a negative high and a positive high in an emotional cycle and the underlying principles that dictate both. And this ignorance, unfortunately, keeps us from healing ourselves. Let us look at what happens when we experience high-energy negative emotions like anger and compare them with certain, what we call, ‘positive’ emotions.

When we are angry or frustrated, we lend our whole being and identity to that particular emotion, which means there is a high degree of self-indulgence. We tend to become impulsive. We let the emotion dictate how we react to the circumstances and to the people around us, as well as with ourselves. Our actions and words are influenced by the emotion.

When we look at our ‘positive’ high-spirited behavior (which is our idea of having fun or being happy) the same principles that govern the negative emotions are being applied here too. We lend our identity to that mood or emotion, we indulge ourselves, we become impulsive, and we speak and behave under the influence of the emotion. Think of any activity that is fun for you. It could be hanging out with friends, becoming impish, eating, dancing, singing, sexual indulgence, etc. The external activity varies from person to person.

The reason why we fail to identify this is because we mistake positive high-spirited activity for happiness. Unfortunately it is not. More often than not, the ‘positive’ high-spirited activity is largely our desperate attempt at ‘filling’ our life with seeming happiness rather than actually happiness and contentment itself.

Please note that some of the same activities may be performed without it becoming your illusory positive high. You could involve yourself into dancing and reach a calm state of mind. That is not the illusory positive high that I am talking of. So how do we identify that illusory positive high emotion that leads to indulgence?

Caution: Emotional Ups and Downs Ahead
Caution: Emotional Ups and Downs Ahead

Look for exhaustion, tiredness, and a lingering unease and boredom. When we are engaged in indulgence that gives us an illusion of happiness and joy, we will also find it exhausting and draining – especially towards the end of the activity you will find yourself desperately and mechanically clinging to the activity but you are not really involved in it really. There sometimes is a sense of uneasiness and boredom towards the end. None of these side effects are seen when we are really content with lives – when we are truly happy.

Our body always looks to balance our energy levels. So a bout of high-energy activity will be followed by a period of low energy levels. Emotionally it could be a period of depression, lack of interest, and a sense of despair. It may not necessarily occur right after a bout of high energy activity. The duration of the period could even be weeks. So there could days or weeks of high activity followed by a few weeks of depression and despair.

Expecting to heal our anger while we continue to indulge ourselves in ‘fun’ is unrealistic. So does that mean we must cut down upon our ‘fun’ activities? Cutting down will not lead to healing; it will only cause a future outburst of excess indulgence. Unfortunately our culture tries to teach us self-control and suppression. Control and suppression is not a path of healing.

The only path to healing is by understanding the emotions and their underlying causes completely. For in deep observation and understanding the conditions for pain dissolve and we discover ourselves.

Hypnotherapy is one therapy that can help identify our habits of emotional highs and lows through regression techniques. Many a time, ‘seeing’ the whole of our past patterns alone helps us dissolve a large part of that habit subconsciously.

Recommended Readings:
Emotional Drama
Mind Drama
Eternal Human Conflict

Image Courtesy:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/harmishhk/with/8642273025/
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=5897

Funnel Vision: How we fabricate our own doomed futures

We let our experiences limit our future possibilities.
We let our experiences limit our future possibilities.

How many straight lines can we draw from a dot? Infinite. It means there is infinite number of viewpoints from which you can see a dot. How many straight lines can we draw connecting two dots? Only one. And this line can be further projected on any side of the dots to predict the occurrence of similar dots. This is funnel vision. As our mind connects similar experiences (dots) across time, it tends to project a future with narrowed possibilities and diminishing joy. Think of it as an inverted funnel place in front of our eyes, like eyeglasses, and we can see only through the small opening at the base of the funnel.

Funnel Effect is common to all of us and most of us fail to recognize its presence and effect upon our lives. Our minds have infinite capacities to bring to us (or take us into) those experiences that prove our existing beliefs. For instance, if a girl believes that all her romantic relationships would end in the man dumping her then that is all she will experience or fight against one relationship after the other. After a few relationships, she may form a new belief that all men are untrustworthy. And she then continues to attract herself into hands of such men. And if she chances upon a trustworthy relationship, her funnel vision can cause her to remain suspicious of the man in her life and can even end up in severing the relationship out of her inability to trust him.

What this girl, in this instance, fails to understand is that her first incident of heartbreak had become the base out of which she operated in the next experiences. Either she would want the same outcome if it makes her happy, or she would want to avoid the outcome if it had suffered her. The very pain has become a yardstick of measure for her. And even the very first experience could have been attracted due to an underlying feeling of undeservedness and poor self-image she had experienced in childhood.

The problem with this emotional approach is that the emotions can make a mere possibility seem a certainty thus creating an anticipation and preparedness – a narrowing of our vision. Naturally when the situation occurs we interpret it through our narrowed or filtered vision and give out prepared reactions only to regret later on. Sometimes the narrowed viewpoint is so strong that we may not even realize our misinterpretation for long.

Our rational mind is also not free from such bias or funnel vision. In fact, it can have more devastating effects in some cases. When a logical mind has to make predictions about an event, it always estimates possibilities based on past similar experiences in our lives or other’s. But all data from past is based not on reality but on the memory of the experience of the reality – either ours or of others around us. That’s like mistaking twice adulterated milk to be pure milk.

Another problem with rational mind is its blind reliance on science. There is an excellent dialogue from the movie Men in Black that beautifully illustrates this problem. Tommy Lee Jones makes this statement to Will Smith after Smith’s first experience with an alien being: “Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.”

A logical mind concludes often fails to understand what it ‘knows’ could be just one, its personal, version of reality and not the truth.

Logical mind kills joy because of its tendency to be too controlling. Emotional mind increases pain because of its tendency to indulge. Funnel vision causes this to become reality of the future. Think of it as series of dots joined by a line, only the mind did not just create the line but it even ended up creating the dot after dot in its life based on its past prejudices.

When experiences in our lives become our beliefs, we undergo a gradual narrowing of our vision and philosophy in our lives to such extent that all we get to experience of life is but a tiniest fraction of its wondrous spectrum of possibilities. We trace a path of suffering, struggle, and strife ahead of us and end up living it just because we assumed a possibility to be a certainty.

So how do we get rid of this funnel in front of our eyes? By first acknowledging its presence. Unless we know our vision is narrow, we will remain the proverbial frog in a well that thinks the well is the whole universe.

Paying complete attention to the moment can dissolve funnel vision and expand our horizons.
Paying complete attention to the moment can dissolve funnel vision and expand our horizons.

The second step is to learn to be in the moment instead of simply accepting the viewpoint our thoughts portray based on our past memories. We cannot stop the funnel vision from giving extremely convincing viewpoints. But we can stop ourselves from entirely believing the viewpoints and being open to the present moment as if it were our first experience. And that is also the truth. No matter how many times we may have experienced events similar to the current situations we are in, we have never experienced this moment before.

We can color this moment and make it as painful as the past with our complicit acceptance of the funnel vision. Or we can simply let every moment become a fresh experience by paying attention to this moment to see what we can experience this time. When we remain absolutely open to the moment, life can surprise us with new joys and experiences that we never had before. Deeper doors within us can open up making us more sensitive to the wonders of life. And this also serves to widen our visions and eventually get rid of the funnel effect altogether.

Suggested Readings:
Cinderella Syndrome
Simple Meditation Technique to deal with Anxiety
Self Abuse

Photo Courtesy by freedigitalphotos
Dark Tunnel With Light by pakorn
Cityscape Sunset by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee

Simple Meditation Technique to deal with Anxiety and Stress – Part 2

Read the First Part here. The meditation technique is explained there.

Best Recommended Times

The recommended times are for getting the best out of this method. They are not mandatory. In fact, I recommend you not to take up all the below at once. That will simply become a burden to you and that will motivate you to give up the meditation practise.

I personally follow these and I do not meditate for no more than two minutes maximum each time. And I increased the frequency of this practise after I fell in love with the meditation, not before.

The best way to start the day is to become present in this moment when you wake up.
The best way to start the day is to become present in this moment when you wake up.

As soon as you wake up – this is especially good because it can have a great influence over your entire day.

In the toilet – this again is another time of the day where our thoughts and emotions then can affect the whole day. Just a few minutes of this meditation here will help us greatly.

Waiting in traffic or at other times can be a great time to meditate.
Waiting in traffic or at other times can be a great time to meditate.

During travel (if you are not operating the vehicle) – this is one of the best times, I’ve found, to meditate. In fact somehow it is easy for me to meditate while sitting in the bus or train. After this technique, I personally began to prefer travelling by bus or train over driving myself because it gives me a long time to meditate. Especially while returning from a day’s work, this meditation in bus has tremendous benefit. There is an immediate flushing of stress and anxiety which I used to carry from work to home.

Before beginning a work – I have found this to be another huge benefit. When you are able to move into ‘being in the moment’ before you start any work, it gives you the calmness as well as the presence of mind required to handle the task effectively. In fact, I found this even improved my performance.

Being in the moment after eating can help digestion and also tune to your listening to your body.
Being in the moment after eating can help digestion and also tune to your listening to your body.

Immediately after eating – If you do this over a few weeks, you will even gain an amazing ability. You will be able to tell if the food that you just consumed is good for you or not. Body has a great ability to communicate what it wants and what it can’t digest. But we never listen. This technique helps you gain back that listening habit. Not only will your stomach tell you if the food you ate is good for you or not, but if you ate something that is particularly not so suitable for your constitution, the few minutes of this meditation after food actually helps reduce the discomfort or indigestion problem. Of course, that does not mean you can continue to eat whatever you like and use this technique like some antacid tonic. When your body communicates, listen to it. Try to avoid that food stuff in future.

Evenings when free – This is the time when I practise this for a slightly longer time like about ten to fifteen minutes. Sometimes, if I find time, I do this in the mornings instead. This helps me become more anchored in that state of peace and calmness, and also helps me get into this practise easily even during most stressful times in the day.

Before going to bed – I sleep with this technique. It will soon help you fall asleep faster.

Getting the Best Out Of This Meditation Practise – Meditation Tips and Advice

Be in the moment and you will soon enjoy the moment as it is.
Be in the moment and you will soon enjoy the moment as it is.

Enjoy the meditation – Just be and you will quickly fall in love with this meditation. Whenever you are being in your body, you will find a certain peace and calmness in it.

Let it grow upon you – Let the meditation grow upon you not the other way round! Do not try to overwhelm yourself with doing this too many times in the beginning. You are trying to acquire a habit of regular meditation. And anything that you dislike or are trying to force upon self can be tough to become a habit.

Take it easy – If you take this meditation too seriously (instead of enthusiastically) you are only adding to your stress. Remember you are trying to find peace out of this meditation. The more desperate you grow the less likely you will find peace. Just take it easy.

Skip once in a while – Take a break when you feel like it. The importance of peace and calmness is felt more in its absence. Don’t be a stickler to punctuality and discipline. If you enjoy the meditation it will become a part of your daily routine quickly enough.

Don’t try too hard – Once in a while you may find it difficult to move into the ‘here and now’ when you are too stressed out or emotional. Don’t try hard. With enough practise during other times you will soon, within weeks, reach a state where you can go into the meditation even during high stress.

Don’t empty mind – Again the emphasis is to be your posture and thus enter this moment. Not on emptying your head of thoughts. There is no need to change your thoughts. Move your focus from them to your body.

Stay on the goal – As you become more practised in this meditation technique, you will find some interesting latent abilities of yours getting activated. For instance, sometimes when I am doing this meditation, I become aware of the mood and thoughts of people around me. Stay with the goal. And the goal is to gain peace and be stress-free. If you start pursuing this meditation for the sake of latent powers you will lose both peace as well as the powers.

Experience this moment – Each time you do this meditation you may have a different experience. The goal is to be the posture and experience this moment as it is. Do not try to reproduce the experience of your previous meditations. That is where you can get lost and lose peace.

Do it as you are – Do not try to assume special postures for the meditation. Just move into the posture you have at the moment. Of course you can adjust a limb or two for the sake of convenience. Sometimes you can also realign your posture as a physical way of ‘gathering your mind’. Special postures or asanas can restrict the places and times when you can practise this meditation.

 

Suggested Readings:

Simple Meditation Technique for healing Anxiety and Stress – Part 1

How much time do you spend for your mental health? – Part 1

How much time do you spend for your mental health? – Part 2

Frustration: Shortcut to Failure

 

Photo Courtesy: graur codrin, rakratchada torsap, Stuart Mile @ freedigitalphotos.net

Simple Meditation Technique to deal with Anxiety and Stress – Part 1

You do not need special places, timing, or even postures for effective meditation.
You do not need special places, timing, or even postures for effective meditation.

In the last posts (Part 1 & Part 2) I discussed about mental health and the most important time of the day where your emotions and thoughts can set a trend for the day. This post let me share with you a very simple meditation method that will help you reduce stress and anxiety dramatically in your daily life. It can also help you become attain peace and calmness if you practise it every day.

The very word meditation sometimes puts us off. We have, at least some of us, have tried in the past various meditation techniques and have failed to achieve the consistency in practise. Two most important obstacles were time and achieving concentration. We either did not have the time to put aside for the meditation. Some meditation techniques demanded a particular time of the day be set aside for it, especially like early mornings which turn out to be particularly difficult for those who are night birds. Some meditation methods insisted on long durations of practise – sometimes even an hour out of our daily routine. The other reason why we give up a few other meditation techniques is because of its demand of nearly super human single minded concentration which seems to be more difficult than time. Just when we want to empty our minds that all sorts of silly thoughts come into our heads.

The meditation technique which I am sharing is neither time consuming nor requires inordinate amounts of mental concentration. You don’t even need to practise it at a regular time too. In fact, the efficacy of this meditation technique lies in practising it everywhere and anywhere you can.

Move into this moment using your body. Now is where Peace is.
Move into this moment using your body. Now is where Peace is.

The Technique

The technique is deceptively simple. All you need to do is to simply move your awareness into your body and this moment. Let me explain how to do that.

First of all, you do not have to assume any meditative posture for this. Doing that can help you initially if you are used to practising meditations, but otherwise it’s not necessary. Again the best benefits of this technique can be extracted if you do this anywhere in any posture.

Simply begin by watching your posture. This can be done either by closing your eyes or with your eyes open. The goal here is to bring yourself, your mind I mean, into this moment and to ground yourself. It means you are bringing yourself here and now. Becoming aware of your posture or physical presence is an easy way to do this. Be like this for a while.

Become aware of your body from the inside. It means you are going into being the posture. See, all postures are actions like sitting, lying, standing, resting, etc. So go into that doing. Be it. Be the sitting person, be the standing person, or be whatever your posture is doing right now. Do not be deceived by the simplicity of this technique. Try it and you will find tremendous results.

The Thinking Mind

Just become aware of your thoughts. No need to control them or suppress them.
Just become aware of your thoughts. No need to control them or suppress them.

Well, what about the mind? You do not have to empty your mind. Just watch it. Do not try to clear your mind. Neither do you try to hang on to a particular thought. Just let them be – in the background. Your awareness is into your posture. Into being.

It means you are letting your mind be what it wants to be and YOU are going away from it. Yes, you and your mind can be separated like that. By ‘you’ here I mean your awareness. So simply let your thoughts be, let your mind be.

What you are doing is letting everything be. You are not trying to change anything. You are moving into the being of the moment. So, like I said, it does not require extraordinary consciousness. Just plain awareness. It’s easy.

Time and Duration

Do it anywhere you want. without any special postures or asanas.
Do it anywhere you want. without any special postures or asanas.

You can do this meditation anytime and anywhere. And you can do this for any duration ranging from just a few seconds to an hour too. In fact, I would not recommend that you do this for longer duration at a set time of the day like other meditation practises. The efficacy of this technique lies in its time flexibility.

I have noticed that in meditation practises people tend to get the best benefit out of it during their early days of practise and then gradually the benefits seem to disappear. The problem is not with the technique but in our ability to compartmentalize our daily routine. We usually stop the benefits of meditation influencing us in the rest of the day after the meditation. In the beginning days of practise, we are so motivated that we feel the lightness, joy, calmness, or peace that we gained during the meditation all through the day. After the initial motivation wanes, we tend to go back to our worry patterns and even the meditation seems to become a burden at times. So what peace we gain during the meditation practise seems to fade within ten minutes of getting up. Yes, any good meditation practise can change that and affect our whole life positively in a long term practise. But that again takes us back to our initial problem of consistency in practise.

So the best way to gain benefit out of this practise is to do this meditation just about two or three minutes or less and do it number of times per day. As you do not have a restriction of posture and you don’t even have to close your eyes for this meditation, it makes it easy to practise this meditation just about anywhere. While sitting in the office or the class during a break, while travelling (if you are not driving, of course), during brief periods of waiting, in the toilet, just after eating. Read the next part here for some best recommended times that can provide greatest benefit out of this technique.

Benefits of Meditation

The meditation can help you remain peaceful and calm all through the day easily.
The meditation can help you remain peaceful and calm all through the day easily.

The first thing that you will notice is the flushing of stress and anxiety. An instant calmness will come over your body and mind as you become aware of them. When you move into the posture and be the posture, what happens is that you are letting go of your identity with your thoughts. You are not stopping the thoughts, but are not attaching yourself with them anymore. Again, the goal is to move into ‘here and now’. Be only in this moment. Any thoughts about the next moment let them be. Just watch them. Don’t try to change them.

This technique acts a vacuum cleaner for stress and emotions. What I mean is that it can effectively stop stress and bothersome emotions from affecting other areas of your life. So when you practise this regularly, you stop carrying emotions across different areas of your life. Stress of your personal life will not affect your professional area. And vice versa.

Due to its flexibility, this technique can be incorporated in your daily life far easily than other longer methods. Of course you can continue any other meditations and Kriyas that you are already doing or intend to take up. In fact, this practise will aid you in other mind management or spiritual techniques.

A constant state of peace will become yours when you pepper this practise along the entire day. You will notice that you are able to look at problems in their proper perspective and proportion. In fact you will even be able to deal with tougher issues with a presence of mind. Worry becomes lesser.

The second part of this post gives you some best recommended times to practise this meditation as well as more useful tips to get the most out of this meditation practice. Read the second part of this post here.

Suggested Readings:

How much time do you spend for your mental health? – Part 1

How much time do you spend for your mental health? – Part 2

Simple Meditation Technique to remove Stress and Anxiety – Part 2

Frustration: The Shortcut to Failure

 

Photo Courtesy: adamr, digitalart, Ambro @ freedigitalphotos.net