This lack of self-control increases both our own stress levels and that of others close to us. It could also lead to out of control eating, drinking or other negative behaviours that can be very damaging to the self. This is then followed by feelings of guilt and possibly even self-loathing.
According to the Oxford dictionary, self-control is defined as: ''The ability to control oneself, in particular one's emotions and desires, especially in difficult situations''.
So, can yoga help? And if so, how? In practical terms, to practice yoga requires discipline, especially in the beginning before your body starts to feel and experience the 'feel good' benefits that will make you want to practice more often.
It reminds me of the saying in the US Army - and I'm sure elsewhere too - that the first step is to get up and make your bed. Sometimes that is a massive achievement in itself. In the beginning, practising yoga is the same! Just do it and before you know it, your body and mind feel so much better that you actually want to continue and miss it when you skip a practice.
"What does this have to do with self-control?"
Well, self-control makes us feel better about ourselves because it helps us to achieve tasks, big or small, that may not be possible otherwise. Lack of self-control, on the other hand, leads to depression, anxiety, obesity or other undesirable behaviours. This is then often followed by feelings of guilt, for example, eating a whole packet of biscuits instead of enjoying just a couple.
Self-control is, therefore, a life skill. It helps us to regulate our thoughts, feelings and actions. Research led by the Kripalu Centre for Yoga and Health in the USA found that yoga provides tools that impact the mind (top-down) as well as tools that affect the body (bottom-up). This synergy between the two - unique to yoga - creates the most impact.
The effect of meditation helps us to stay present to different experiences and sensations which can help us to manage emotions better and increase self-compassion. By becoming aware of what makes us feel better, we start acting in a way that achieves this more ... thereby reducing stress.
The bottom-up tools found in physical yoga practice impacts on the body directly. By focusing on the breath and moving with awareness, something changes mentally, without us even trying to do so. The physiological function of the body is impacted directly, such as the function of the vagus nerve which helps us calm down and relax.
This self-control is about finding a balance to create a space to be happy within yourself in a kind and compassionate way ... not in a controlling way. Enjoy a couple of biscuits and the yoga practice and allow others the space to do the same.
At the end of the day, life is about living in a joyful, happy way.
If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about , relaxation or yoga in general, do call me on 07768 314962, leave a comment below or click the Messenger icon in the bottom right of your browser to chat.
Anne Marie completed an 18-month yoga teacher training through Yoga Campus in London in February 2020 to share the magical benefits of yoga with others.
She also recently completed a PTSD and Yoga4Health certifications through The Minded Institute to help people dealing with trauma and those who want to start a healthier lifestyle through yoga.
Helping business owners to create a supportive working environment that will have a positive impact on their business. The benefits, that flow from the holistic and systemic approach from yoga, will have a rippling effect on the health of all employees, their families, their communities and all stakeholders from the bottom up and equally from the top down.
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