How Yoga Can Make You Less Reactive

How Yoga Can Make You Less Reactive

We practice yoga by moving through and holding poses, linking the movements with long, steady breaths. As we do so, our random thoughts and usual distractions start to drop away. This quieter mental space allows us to notice our mental habits and patterns. Poses that challenge us can be particularly good for this kind of self observation. 

If pigeon feels uncomfortable, how does your mind react? Do you get irritated and then go off on an inner monologue about how much you don’t like this pose, as you wait for it to be over? Do you come out of the pose, giving up at the slightest hint of discomfort? Or do you grit your teeth aggressively and stay in it, even as the discomfort crosses over into pain?

Handstand practice is another great place to observe our minds. Do you not even try, because you’re so sure that you can’t do it? Does it scare you? Are you comparing yourself to everyone else? Do you get easily frustrated and give up? Or do you love the challenge?

As we become aware of our habitual mental reactions in yoga class, we can start to slowly soften them so that there’s room to change. When irritation or resistance comes up, we can breathe deeper and consciously let go of the thought pattern. When fear or frustration arises, we can try to stay focused and fully present, again while breathing consciously. As we do this more and more in our yoga practice, we’re more able to recognize when these same reactions (irritation, defeat, aggression, fear, etc.) show up in our everyday lives. And we can pause, give a little more space and make a conscious choice to react differently. 

It takes commitment and effort, but the benefits are so worth it.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.