Finding Your Posture

“The combination of clarity and discipline equals posture.”

I would imagine that as you read this quote you assumed that it came from a text concerning the practice of Yoga and indeed a version of this aphorism is found in all yogic works.

However, I found this particular sentence in a business book about becoming a more effective salesperson, continuing proof that the principles of Yoga are more persuasive than you might realize.

I hope the authors don’t mind that I will be using their words to flesh out the yoga-ness of their concepts in this post.

When I first opened the studio I remember being unsure how to approach running a yoga business— should yoga even be considered a business?

My love of yoga was not about making money but I needed to make money to survive as a business.

The murky dilemma of receiving money in return for giving yoga— I was feeling a little evangelical at the time, wanting to share how yoga “saved me” with others.

So I did what I always to do—I stuck my head in a book and looked for answers. The quote comes from a book called “Go Givers Sell More by Bob Burg and John David Mann”.

Believe me I know what you are thinking but— I liked what it said inside the book jacket, that sales at its best, at its most effective, is about giving. It is about cultivating trusting relationships that are focused exclusively on creating value for the other person.

I always find it weirdly wonderful when the universe—fate—Yoga places what I am seeking right in front of my nose. I know this phenomenon is mostly about focus but it just seems so serendipitous at the time.

Much to my surprise, I found that portions of this book seem to have been written out of a yoga philosophy playbook. The authors’ sales philosophy struck me as a good way to approach running a business, one based on yogic principles.

As a yoga teacher and a birth doula, my career choice is to provide valuable services to students and clients, relationships where trust is a vital if not a mandatory requirement.

Having the wisdom to listen to their advice at the time, well that’s something different altogether. More on that later, let us keep our focus on the quote.

Clarity, discipline and posture aren’t just business concepts these qualities play a major role in the practice of Yoga.

Clarity is defined as the quality that comes from being clear, coherent, and intelligent and this is distinguished by being easy to see, easy to hear. This makes clarity a quality that is free of ambiguity and easy to understand.

Yoga practice is about removing the obstacles that keep a person from getting a clear look at reality.

Clarity is an essential part of ethical salesmanship, at least it should be.

Discipline is a form of training, a way to improve a particular skill set, an ability to control one’s emotions, overcome weaknesses and pursue a goal without abandoning it.

I wrote an entire post on the concept that Yoga is a Discipline.

Discipline is an essential part of becoming a successful salesperson.

There are several ways to define posture. Physical posture is defined as the position or carriage of the body with respect to proper alignment. Mental posture is defined as your frame of mind, or when a person takes an official stance or position.

According to Wikipedia, in yoga, an asana is a body posture, originally sitting for meditation, but more generally for hatha yoga, including postures that are reclining, standing, inverted, twisting, or balancing as well as seated.

During a hatha yoga practice a person finds and uses the specific muscles that will eventually allow their bones to stack in a way that brings ease and comfort to the pose, a way of expressing posture that feels good in their particular body. At least it should be.

The large body positioning of Yoga asana generate the ability to change a person’s physical posture by practicing non-habitual movement, which teaches the nervous system new tricks, heightening your body’s awareness, which is the key to maintaining proper alignment and not falling back into old postures.

There is a TED talk by Amy Cuddy in which she talks about how adopting large body postures not only change your body’s stance they change your body chemistry as well, causing a release of testosterone and a reduction in the release of stress hormones.

Even two minutes in Warrior II, for example, will spark different behavior and therefore significant changes. Maybe you will find yourself a little more open to challenges, more willing to take a little risk.

According to Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D., in a post she wrote for Psychology Today, your posture, the way you hold your body is a form of non-verbal communication.

You can look at a person and know that they are in pain, peaceful or angry, happy or sad without them saying a word.

She says that we all probably know this communication pathway between body posture and how we feel.

We curl up around our pain, we slump through depression, and our body’s are more open and expansive when we feel good. We stand tall when we are proud, and get a little shifty when we feel guilt.

A human body holds a blueprint of everything that happens to it, physically and emotionally, and this blueprint is held mainly in the subconscious part of the brain. For example, medical studies have shown that psychological factors such as stress, depression and anxiety are all implicated in chronic lower back pain.

Ms. Weinschenk’s point is that we seldom recognize that this also works the other way around, change the way you feel by changing the way you hold your body. This also changes brain chemistry determining the actions you take and those you don’t.

I particularly like this. I often wondered why my whole perspective on life eventually changed for the better after spending several years on my yoga mat.

Asana changes the way you hold your body, which changes how you hold your mind, yoga practice clears out the clutter, and without all that clutter you have the space to stand tall and see clearly. Discipline kept me coming back to my mat.

In their book, “Go Givers Sell More” the authors wrote about clarity and discipline as also being emotional qualities, and gave perspective about how mastering these qualities can lead to emotional posture.

According to the book:

“Emotional clarity means understanding that there is a difference between your economic need (which is real) and your emotional need for this person to be the solution to that economic need.

Emotional discipline is your ability to hold on to that clarity and consistently choose your responses to each situation, rather than reacting impulsively.

Shaking off doubts, insecurities and stepping into the truth of who you are and the value of what you have to offer, without emotional attachment to any specific outcome. Standing up as yourself.

Part of posture is staying clear on what you cannot control. You cannot control the outcome of another’s response. Or their actions.

What you can control are the actions you take, the words you speak, and especially the thoughts that you hold.

Your thoughts often communicate just as loudly as your words and deeds, and sometimes even more so.”
—Bob Burg and John David Mann, Go Givers Sell More

Like I said portions of this book seem like they are written out of a Yoga philosophy playbook, and these particular words can also stand in as a catalog of missteps I made while stumbling along my steep learning curve as a new business owner.

A person’s emotional clarity is determined by the extent to which that person knows, understands, and is clear about which emotions he/she is feeling and why he/she is feeling them. It is about the ability to understand, label and identify emotions. This is a surprisingly rare skill.

Not as surprising, perhaps, but the quality of self discipline is also a rare skill set.

Emotional self-discipline is about developing a sense of mental toughness, the ability to actually do those things that you “should” be doing, instead of running away from them.

Both Hatha yoga and the mediation techniques outlined by Patanjali assist a person by giving them the tools necessary to overcome their emotional minds, a means to move forward by taking physical and/or mental action.

Developing willpower, the ability to resist temptations and the urge to quit when things get difficult is a practice, one a person may never “perfect”, but nevertheless a practice where every moment spent is progress.

When you can see clearly what emotions are clouding your decisions, determining your actions— then you can take some positive steps towards controlling these emotions, de-cluttering them out of your way.

This step is huge as it helps you improve the way you operate for yourself, for your work, and for others.

Our ideal state already lives inside us, we simply allow our emotions and thoughts to stop us from achieving success on our own terms.

Instead of thinking of adopting a new posture as leaving your comfort zone, just start where you are at, then change your comfort zone by stretching it a bit, using judiciously small doses of discomfort to propel yourself forward. —Bob, John, or Patanjali—take your pick.

Yoga is about creating space, moving forward into this new space, releasing the things that do not serve you, and then repeating the process.

Yoga is not something you become it is something you already are, don’t try to take it on or seek it, embrace it.

Finding that part of yourself, knowing yourself, accepting that one must make success on their own terms is posture, finding an easy seat in your mind will automatically make you stand with confidence and express yourself clearly.

Practically every time I sit down to write I start out by writing about me and my experiences, then I usually edit them out, because I am uncomfortable sharing things about myself.

This time I am going to “practice what I preach” and stretch my comfort zone a little bit and use my life as an example.

To widely paraphrase Dean Ornish, in my experience yoga has not been so much about learning to stand on my head or about turning myself into a pretzel, instead it has been about learning how to untie the knots so that I can finally stand on my own two feet, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Approximately 9 years ago my husband was looking for a way out of our marriage and in the spirit of moving forward asked me if I could do anything where would I live and what would I do for a living?

As one might expect my mind was still tangled up in knots around the whole situation but I heard my voice say: I would like to move closer to Pittsburgh and find a property where I could both live in and work out of, it would need to have enough space to be both a home and a yoga studio.

As a part of a divine Google search I found this building right away and the rest is history.

I opened The Yoga Whole almost 8 years ago, with zero business experience, I combined this lack of skills with a mass of displaced emotions. I didn’t want to make decisions or figure things out for myself, more than anything I just wanted to hunker down and hide, lick my wounds for a bit.

I was very reluctant to take ownership of this new version of my life and at the beginning I combined this sense of passivity with repeating episodes of impulsive decision-making that generally meant failure. I allowed this mindset to doom business relationships, my productivity and my sense of well-being.

Not just once but over and over again, it literally took catching my kitchen on fire to finally bring myself back to reality. What I was doing was not only not working, it was a means of self-torture, and it didn’t make any sense.

Why was I inviting more suffering into my life? Wasn’t my life already challenging enough?

Time after time I was deliberately choosing to accept increasingly uncomfortable situations instead of stepping up and taking the reigns of my business myself.

I have held a life long belief that “as is” I am not good enough and combined with the fear of failure, I was overwhelmed. I tried to conform, be what others expected me to be, but that just made everything even worse.

The circumstances behind that fire forced me to the realization that I was “in the weeds”, the kitchen slang used for line cooks, who are falling behind and risking failure by not timely completing food orders.

All line cooks fall into “the weeds” at one point, but successful line cooks realize that it is not so much about the teetering towards failure, as it is about embracing the struggle to restore order. —Scott Haas “Back of the House”

It was finally time to undo the damage, untie the knots in my mind, the snarled up tangles that were causing me pain and keeping me stuck, bring sanity back into my little corner of the universe.

I was gifted with a moment of emotional clarity and to use one of my favorite quotes:

“Flow into the knowledge that what you are you seeking finishes, often, at a start, and with ending, begins.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke “The Sonnets to Orpheus”, part two, XII

I stepped up, made the changes that needed made, and stepped into the life that I have always wanted and made success out of my business on my own terms.

Other people’s visions for the success of my business are not my own, this does not make me a failure, it makes me different, and it was finally time for me to embrace my weirdness.

Since that moment I have crafted and evolved a version of “being in business” that is uniquely me, an alternative version of success that suits me well.

Today this studio represents a “memento mori”,* my way of saying, of everything that has passed, this is what I choose to keep. It is a clear reminder, there if you care to look, of where and when and how I have lived. (Thank you Tamar Adler, this is a paraphrase of something she wrote in her book The Everlasting Meal)

From that brief moment of clarity I was able transform my doubts into endeavors (postures) that allow me to express my creativity and my dedication to service through consistent hard work (discipline).

I believe 100% in the yoga I teach and the service and care I give as a Doula, I do not need any particular person to say yes, but if you do, rest assured that you will receive the full benefit of what I have to offer.

Lesson learned, thanks guys for the inspiring books.

Clarity + Discipline = Posture


* Literally this means remember death. In practice it is an artistic or symbolic reminder of mortality.

Finding Your Posture


“The combination of clarity and discipline equals posture.”

I would imagine that as you read this quote you assumed that it came from a text concerning the practice of Yoga and indeed a version of this aphorism is found in all yogic works.

However, I found this particular sentence in a business book about becoming a more effective salesperson, continuing proof that the principles of Yoga are more persuasive than you might realize.

I hope the authors don’t mind that I will be using their words to flesh out the yoga-ness of their concepts in this post.

When I first opened the studio I remember being unsure how to approach running a yoga business— should yoga even be considered a business?

My love of yoga was not about making money but I needed to make money to survive as a business.

The murky dilemma of receiving money in return for giving yoga— I was feeling a little evangelical at the time, wanting to share how yoga “saved me” with others.

So I did what I always to do—I stuck my head in a book and looked for answers. The quote comes from a book called “Go Givers Sell More by Bob Burg and John David Mann”.

Believe me I know what you are thinking but— I liked what it said inside the book jacket, that sales at its best, at its most effective, is about giving. It is about cultivating trusting relationships that are focused exclusively on creating value for the other person.

I always find it weirdly wonderful when the universe—fate—Yoga places what I am seeking right in front of my nose. I know this phenomenon is mostly about focus but it just seems so serendipitous at the time.

Much to my surprise, I found that portions of this book seem to have been written out of a yoga philosophy playbook. The authors’ sales philosophy struck me as a good way to approach running a business, one based on yogic principles.

As a yoga teacher and a birth doula, my career choice is to provide valuable services to students and clients, relationships where trust is a vital if not a mandatory requirement.

Having the wisdom to listen to their advice at the time, well that’s something different altogether. More on that later, let us keep our focus on the quote.

Clarity, discipline and posture aren’t just business concepts these qualities play a major role in the practice of Yoga.

Clarity is defined as the quality that comes from being clear, coherent, and intelligent and this is distinguished by being easy to see, easy to hear. This makes clarity a quality that is free of ambiguity and easy to understand.

Yoga practice is about removing the obstacles that keep a person from getting a clear look at reality.

Clarity is an essential part of ethical salesmanship, at least it should be.

Discipline is a form of training, a way to improve a particular skill set, an ability to control one’s emotions, overcome weaknesses and pursue a goal without abandoning it.

I wrote an entire post on the concept that Yoga is a Discipline.

Discipline is an essential part of becoming a successful salesperson.

There are several ways to define posture. Physical posture is defined as the position or carriage of the body with respect to proper alignment. Mental posture is defined as your frame of mind, or when a person takes an official stance or position.

According to Wikipedia, in yoga, an asana is a body posture, originally sitting for meditation, but more generally for hatha yoga, including postures that are reclining, standing, inverted, twisting, or balancing as well as seated.

During a hatha yoga practice a person finds and uses the specific muscles that will eventually allow their bones to stack in a way that brings ease and comfort to the pose, a way of expressing posture that feels good in their particular body. At least it should be.

The large body positioning of Yoga asana generate the ability to change a person’s physical posture by practicing non-habitual movement, which teaches the nervous system new tricks, heightening your body’s awareness, which is the key to maintaining proper alignment and not falling back into old postures.

There is a TED talk by Amy Cuddy in which she talks about how adopting large body postures not only change your body’s stance they change your body chemistry as well, causing a release of testosterone and a reduction in the release of stress hormones.

Even two minutes in Warrior II, for example, will spark different behavior and therefore significant changes. Maybe you will find yourself a little more open to challenges, more willing to take a little risk.

According to Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D., in a post she wrote for Psychology Today, your posture, the way you hold your body is a form of non-verbal communication.

You can look at a person and know that they are in pain, peaceful or angry, happy or sad without them saying a word.

She says that we all probably know this communication pathway between body posture and how we feel.

We curl up around our pain, we slump through depression, and our body’s are more open and expansive when we feel good. We stand tall when we are proud, and get a little shifty when we feel guilt.

A human body holds a blueprint of everything that happens to it, physically and emotionally, and this blueprint is held mainly in the subconscious part of the brain. For example, medical studies have shown that psychological factors such as stress, depression and anxiety are all implicated in chronic lower back pain.

Ms. Weinschenk’s point is that we seldom recognize that this also works the other way around, change the way you feel by changing the way you hold your body. This also changes brain chemistry determining the actions you take and those you don’t.

I particularly like this. I often wondered why my whole perspective on life eventually changed for the better after spending several years on my yoga mat.

Asana changes the way you hold your body, which changes how you hold your mind, yoga practice clears out the clutter, and without all that clutter you have the space to stand tall and see clearly. Discipline kept me coming back to my mat.

In their book, “Go Givers Sell More” the authors wrote about clarity and discipline as also being emotional qualities, and gave perspective about how mastering these qualities can lead to emotional posture.

According to the book:

“Emotional clarity means understanding that there is a difference between your economic need (which is real) and your emotional need for this person to be the solution to that economic need.

Emotional discipline is your ability to hold on to that clarity and consistently choose your responses to each situation, rather than reacting impulsively.

Shaking off doubts, insecurities and stepping into the truth of who you are and the value of what you have to offer, without emotional attachment to any specific outcome. Standing up as yourself.

Part of posture is staying clear on what you cannot control. You cannot control the outcome of another’s response. Or their actions.

What you can control are the actions you take, the words you speak, and especially the thoughts that you hold.

Your thoughts often communicate just as loudly as your words and deeds, and sometimes even more so.”
—Bob Burg and John David Mann, Go Givers Sell More

Like I said portions of this book seem like they are written out of a Yoga philosophy playbook, and these particular words can also stand in as a catalog of missteps I made while stumbling along my steep learning curve as a new business owner.

A person’s emotional clarity is determined by the extent to which that person knows, understands, and is clear about which emotions he/she is feeling and why he/she is feeling them. It is about the ability to understand, label and identify emotions. This is a surprisingly rare skill.

Not as surprising, perhaps, but the quality of self discipline is also a rare skill set.

Emotional self-discipline is about developing a sense of mental toughness, the ability to actually do those things that you “should” be doing, instead of running away from them.

Both Hatha yoga and the mediation techniques outlined by Patanjali assist a person by giving them the tools necessary to overcome their emotional minds, a means to move forward by taking physical and/or mental action.

Developing willpower, the ability to resist temptations and the urge to quit when things get difficult is a practice, one a person may never “perfect”, but nevertheless a practice where every moment spent is progress.

When you can see clearly what emotions are clouding your decisions, determining your actions— then you can take some positive steps towards controlling these emotions, de-cluttering them out of your way.

This step is huge as it helps you improve the way you operate for yourself, for your work, and for others.

Our ideal state already lives inside us, we simply allow our emotions and thoughts to stop us from achieving success on our own terms.

Instead of thinking of adopting a new posture as leaving your comfort zone, just start where you are at, then change your comfort zone by stretching it a bit, using judiciously small doses of discomfort to propel yourself forward. —Bob, John, or Patanjali—take your pick.

Yoga is about creating space, moving forward into this new space, releasing the things that do not serve you, and then repeating the process.

Yoga is not something you become it is something you already are, don’t try to take it on or seek it, embrace it.

Finding that part of yourself, knowing yourself, accepting that one must make success on their own terms is posture, finding an easy seat in your mind will automatically make you stand with confidence and express yourself clearly.

Practically every time I sit down to write I start out by writing about me and my experiences, then I usually edit them out, because I am uncomfortable sharing things about myself.

This time I am going to “practice what I preach” and stretch my comfort zone a little bit and use my life as an example.

To widely paraphrase Dean Ornish, in my experience yoga has not been so much about learning to stand on my head or about turning myself into a pretzel, instead it has been about learning how to untie the knots so that I can finally stand on my own two feet, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Approximately 9 years ago my husband was looking for a way out of our marriage and in the spirit of moving forward asked me if I could do anything where would I live and what would I do for a living?

As one might expect my mind was still tangled up in knots around the whole situation but I heard my voice say: I would like to move closer to Pittsburgh and find a property where I could both live in and work out of, it would need to have enough space to be both a home and a yoga studio.

As a part of a divine Google search I found this building right away and the rest is history.

I opened The Yoga Whole almost 8 years ago, with zero business experience, I combined this lack of skills with a mass of displaced emotions. I didn’t want to make decisions or figure things out for myself, more than anything I just wanted to hunker down and hide, lick my wounds for a bit.

I was very reluctant to take ownership of this new version of my life and at the beginning I combined this sense of passivity with repeating episodes of impulsive decision-making that generally meant failure. I allowed this mindset to doom business relationships, my productivity and my sense of well-being.

Not just once but over and over again, it literally took catching my kitchen on fire to finally bring myself back to reality. What I was doing was not only not working, it was a means of self-torture, and it didn’t make any sense.

Why was I inviting more suffering into my life? Wasn’t my life already challenging enough?

Time after time I was deliberately choosing to accept increasingly uncomfortable situations instead of stepping up and taking the reigns of my business myself.

I have held a life long belief that “as is” I am not good enough and combined with the fear of failure, I was overwhelmed. I tried to conform, be what others expected me to be, but that just made everything even worse.

The circumstances behind that fire forced me to the realization that I was “in the weeds”, the kitchen slang used for line cooks, who are falling behind and risking failure by not timely completing food orders.

All line cooks fall into “the weeds” at one point, but successful line cooks realize that it is not so much about the teetering towards failure, as it is about embracing the struggle to restore order. —Scott Haas “Back of the House”

It was finally time to undo the damage, untie the knots in my mind, the snarled up tangles that were causing me pain and keeping me stuck, bring sanity back into my little corner of the universe.

I was gifted with a moment of emotional clarity and to use one of my favorite quotes:

“Flow into the knowledge that what you are you seeking finishes, often, at a start, and with ending, begins.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke “The Sonnets to Orpheus”, part two, XII

I stepped up, made the changes that needed made, and stepped into the life that I have always wanted and made success out of my business on my own terms.

Other people’s visions for the success of my business are not my own, this does not make me a failure, it makes me different, and it was finally time for me to embrace my weirdness.

Since that moment I have crafted and evolved a version of “being in business” that is uniquely me, an alternative version of success that suits me well.

Today this studio represents a “memento mori”,* my way of saying, of everything that has passed, this is what I choose to keep. It is a clear reminder, there if you care to look, of where and when and how I have lived. (Thank you Tamar Adler, this is a paraphrase of something she wrote in her book The Everlasting Meal)

From that brief moment of clarity I was able transform my doubts into endeavors (postures) that allow me to express my creativity and my dedication to service through consistent hard work (discipline).

I believe 100% in the yoga I teach and the service and care I give as a Doula, I do not need any particular person to say yes, but if you do, rest assured that you will receive the full benefit of what I have to offer.

Lesson learned, thanks guys for the inspiring books.

Clarity + Discipline = Posture


* Literally this means remember death. In practice it is an artistic or symbolic reminder of mortality. 

Finding Your Posture


“The combination of clarity and discipline equals posture.”

I would imagine that as you read this quote you assumed that it came from a text concerning the practice of Yoga and indeed a version of this aphorism is found in all yogic works.

However, I found this particular sentence in a business book about becoming a more effective salesperson, continuing proof that the principles of Yoga are more persuasive than you might realize.

I hope the authors don’t mind that I will be using their words to flesh out the yoga-ness of their concepts in this post.

When I first opened the studio I remember being unsure how to approach running a yoga business— should yoga even be considered a business?

My love of yoga was not about making money but I needed to make money to survive as a business.

The murky dilemma of receiving money in return for giving yoga— I was feeling a little evangelical at the time, wanting to share how yoga “saved me” with others.

So I did what I always to do—I stuck my head in a book and looked for answers. The quote comes from a book called “Go Givers Sell More by Bob Burg and John David Mann”.

Believe me I know what you are thinking but— I liked what it said inside the book jacket, that sales at its best, at its most effective, is about giving. It is about cultivating trusting relationships that are focused exclusively on creating value for the other person.

I always find it weirdly wonderful when the universe—fate—Yoga places what I am seeking right in front of my nose. I know this phenomenon is mostly about focus but it just seems so serendipitous at the time.

Much to my surprise, I found that portions of this book seem to have been written out of a yoga philosophy playbook. The authors’ sales philosophy struck me as a good way to approach running a business, one based on yogic principles.

As a yoga teacher and a birth doula, my career choice is to provide valuable services to students and clients, relationships where trust is a vital if not a mandatory requirement.

Having the wisdom to listen to their advice at the time, well that’s something different altogether. More on that later, let us keep our focus on the quote.

Clarity, discipline and posture aren’t just business concepts these qualities play a major role in the practice of Yoga.

Clarity is defined as the quality that comes from being clear, coherent, and intelligent and this is distinguished by being easy to see, easy to hear. This makes clarity a quality that is free of ambiguity and easy to understand.

Yoga practice is about removing the obstacles that keep a person from getting a clear look at reality.

Clarity is an essential part of ethical salesmanship, at least it should be.

Discipline is a form of training, a way to improve a particular skill set, an ability to control one’s emotions, overcome weaknesses and pursue a goal without abandoning it.

I wrote an entire post on the concept that Yoga is a Discipline.

Discipline is an essential part of becoming a successful salesperson.

There are several ways to define posture. Physical posture is defined as the position or carriage of the body with respect to proper alignment. Mental posture is defined as your frame of mind, or when a person takes an official stance or position.

According to Wikipedia, in yoga, an asana is a body posture, originally sitting for meditation, but more generally for hatha yoga, including postures that are reclining, standing, inverted, twisting, or balancing as well as seated.

During a hatha yoga practice a person finds and uses the specific muscles that will eventually allow their bones to stack in a way that brings ease and comfort to the pose, a way of expressing posture that feels good in their particular body. At least it should be.

The large body positioning of Yoga asana generate the ability to change a person’s physical posture by practicing non-habitual movement, which teaches the nervous system new tricks, heightening your body’s awareness, which is the key to maintaining proper alignment and not falling back into old postures.

There is a TED talk by Amy Cuddy in which she talks about how adopting large body postures not only change your body’s stance they change your body chemistry as well, causing a release of testosterone and a reduction in the release of stress hormones.

Even two minutes in Warrior II, for example, will spark different behavior and therefore significant changes. Maybe you will find yourself a little more open to challenges, more willing to take a little risk.

According to Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D., in a post she wrote for Psychology Today, your posture, the way you hold your body is a form of non-verbal communication.

You can look at a person and know that they are in pain, peaceful or angry, happy or sad without them saying a word.

She says that we all probably know this communication pathway between body posture and how we feel.

We curl up around our pain, we slump through depression, and our body’s are more open and expansive when we feel good. We stand tall when we are proud, and get a little shifty when we feel guilt.

A human body holds a blueprint of everything that happens to it, physically and emotionally, and this blueprint is held mainly in the subconscious part of the brain. For example, medical studies have shown that psychological factors such as stress, depression and anxiety are all implicated in chronic lower back pain.

Ms. Weinschenk’s point is that we seldom recognize that this also works the other way around, change the way you feel by changing the way you hold your body. This also changes brain chemistry determining the actions you take and those you don’t.

I particularly like this. I often wondered why my whole perspective on life eventually changed for the better after spending several years on my yoga mat.

Asana changes the way you hold your body, which changes how you hold your mind, yoga practice clears out the clutter, and without all that clutter you have the space to stand tall and see clearly. Discipline kept me coming back to my mat.

In their book, “Go Givers Sell More” the authors wrote about clarity and discipline as also being emotional qualities, and gave perspective about how mastering these qualities can lead to emotional posture.

According to the book:

“Emotional clarity means understanding that there is a difference between your economic need (which is real) and your emotional need for this person to be the solution to that economic need.

Emotional discipline is your ability to hold on to that clarity and consistently choose your responses to each situation, rather than reacting impulsively.

Shaking off doubts, insecurities and stepping into the truth of who you are and the value of what you have to offer, without emotional attachment to any specific outcome. Standing up as yourself.

Part of posture is staying clear on what you cannot control. You cannot control the outcome of another’s response. Or their actions.

What you can control are the actions you take, the words you speak, and especially the thoughts that you hold.

Your thoughts often communicate just as loudly as your words and deeds, and sometimes even more so.”
—Bob Burg and John David Mann, Go Givers Sell More

Like I said portions of this book seem like they are written out of a Yoga philosophy playbook, and these particular words can also stand in as a catalog of missteps I made while stumbling along my steep learning curve as a new business owner.

A person’s emotional clarity is determined by the extent to which that person knows, understands, and is clear about which emotions he/she is feeling and why he/she is feeling them. It is about the ability to understand, label and identify emotions. This is a surprisingly rare skill.

Not as surprising, perhaps, but the quality of self discipline is also a rare skill set.

Emotional self-discipline is about developing a sense of mental toughness, the ability to actually do those things that you “should” be doing, instead of running away from them.

Both Hatha yoga and the mediation techniques outlined by Patanjali assist a person by giving them the tools necessary to overcome their emotional minds, a means to move forward by taking physical and/or mental action.

Developing willpower, the ability to resist temptations and the urge to quit when things get difficult is a practice, one a person may never “perfect”, but nevertheless a practice where every moment spent is progress.

When you can see clearly what emotions are clouding your decisions, determining your actions— then you can take some positive steps towards controlling these emotions, de-cluttering them out of your way.

This step is huge as it helps you improve the way you operate for yourself, for your work, and for others.

Our ideal state already lives inside us, we simply allow our emotions and thoughts to stop us from achieving success on our own terms.

Instead of thinking of adopting a new posture as leaving your comfort zone, just start where you are at, then change your comfort zone by stretching it a bit, using judiciously small doses of discomfort to propel yourself forward. —Bob, John, or Patanjali—take your pick.

Yoga is about creating space, moving forward into this new space, releasing the things that do not serve you, and then repeating the process.

Yoga is not something you become it is something you already are, don’t try to take it on or seek it, embrace it.

Finding that part of yourself, knowing yourself, accepting that one must make success on their own terms is posture, finding an easy seat in your mind will automatically make you stand with confidence and express yourself clearly.

Practically every time I sit down to write I start out by writing about me and my experiences, then I usually edit them out, because I am uncomfortable sharing things about myself.

This time I am going to “practice what I preach” and stretch my comfort zone a little bit and use my life as an example.

To widely paraphrase Dean Ornish, in my experience yoga has not been so much about learning to stand on my head or about turning myself into a pretzel, instead it has been about learning how to untie the knots so that I can finally stand on my own two feet, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Approximately 9 years ago my husband was looking for a way out of our marriage and in the spirit of moving forward asked me if I could do anything where would I live and what would I do for a living?

As one might expect my mind was still tangled up in knots around the whole situation but I heard my voice say: I would like to move closer to Pittsburgh and find a property where I could both live in and work out of, it would need to have enough space to be both a home and a yoga studio.

As a part of a divine Google search I found this building right away and the rest is history.

I opened The Yoga Whole almost 8 years ago, with zero business experience, I combined this lack of skills with a mass of displaced emotions. I didn’t want to make decisions or figure things out for myself, more than anything I just wanted to hunker down and hide, lick my wounds for a bit.

I was very reluctant to take ownership of this new version of my life and at the beginning I combined this sense of passivity with repeating episodes of impulsive decision-making that generally meant failure. I allowed this mindset to doom business relationships, my productivity and my sense of well-being.

Not just once but over and over again, it literally took catching my kitchen on fire to finally bring myself back to reality. What I was doing was not only not working, it was a means of self-torture, and it didn’t make any sense.

Why was I inviting more suffering into my life? Wasn’t my life already challenging enough?

Time after time I was deliberately choosing to accept increasingly uncomfortable situations instead of stepping up and taking the reigns of my business myself.

I have held a life long belief that “as is” I am not good enough and combined with the fear of failure, I was overwhelmed. I tried to conform, be what others expected me to be, but that just made everything even worse.

The circumstances behind that fire forced me to the realization that I was “in the weeds”, the kitchen slang used for line cooks, who are falling behind and risking failure by not timely completing food orders.

All line cooks fall into “the weeds” at one point, but successful line cooks realize that it is not so much about the teetering towards failure, as it is about embracing the struggle to restore order. —Scott Haas “Back of the House”

It was finally time to undo the damage, untie the knots in my mind, the snarled up tangles that were causing me pain and keeping me stuck, bring sanity back into my little corner of the universe.

I was gifted with a moment of emotional clarity and to use one of my favorite quotes:

“Flow into the knowledge that what you are you seeking finishes, often, at a start, and with ending, begins.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke “The Sonnets to Orpheus”, part two, XII

I stepped up, made the changes that needed made, and stepped into the life that I have always wanted and made success out of my business on my own terms.

Other people’s visions for the success of my business are not my own, this does not make me a failure, it makes me different, and it was finally time for me to embrace my weirdness.

Since that moment I have crafted and evolved a version of “being in business” that is uniquely me, an alternative version of success that suits me well.

Today this studio represents a “memento mori”,* my way of saying, of everything that has passed, this is what I choose to keep. It is a clear reminder, there if you care to look, of where and when and how I have lived. (Thank you Tamar Adler, this is a paraphrase of something she wrote in her book The Everlasting Meal)

From that brief moment of clarity I was able transform my doubts into endeavors (postures) that allow me to express my creativity and my dedication to service through consistent hard work (discipline).

I believe 100% in the yoga I teach and the service and care I give as a Doula, I do not need any particular person to say yes, but if you do, rest assured that you will receive the full benefit of what I have to offer.

Lesson learned, thanks guys for the inspiring books.

Clarity + Discipline = Posture


* Literally this means remember death. In practice it is an artistic or symbolic reminder of mortality. 

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