Stress is one element that we all experience in life.
Have you ever noticed the more you try to not be stressed, the more stress you create? It’s a vicious cycle of denying, avoiding, and exhausting yourself trying to keep it all picture perfect.
If stress keeps coming, then what’s the solution?
In her book, The Upside of Stress, Kelly McGonigal writes:
It turns out that how you think about stress is also one of those core beliefs that can affect your health, happiness, and success. As we’ll see, your stress mindset shapes everything from the emotions you feel during a stressful situation to the way you can cope with stressful events. That, in turn, can determine whether you thrive under stress or end up burned out and depressed. The good news is, even if you are firmly convinced that stress is harmful, you can still cultivate a mindset that helps you thrive.<br />
Take a look at that last sentence one more time.
The good news is, even if you are firmly convinced that stress is harmful, you can still cultivate a mindset that helps you thrive.
According to Kelly McGonigal, stress isn’t necessarily negative. It’s how we tend to think about stress that causes a problem.
You see, most of us have been taught culturally that stress is harmful. Think about how you talk to yourself:
“Uggggh, I’m stressed.”
“This is too much.”
This is the self-talk that we rely on when the going gets rough.
Yet, as mentioned in her last sentence, this stress-as-a-negative mindset can shift gradually over time.
Changing your mindset happens over time. Through the Kaiut Yoga practice, we help our students learn how to positively stress their system, mindsets or beliefs, in a way that stimulates growth on a physical and mental level. We do this through various means:
- Positive use of the environment: we use a lot of equipment in the Kaiut practice to stimulate the joints and surrounding tissues to promote variety. The physical body has a need to be used and the key to benefitting from the stimulus is to emphasize variety; different angles, levels of pressure, length of time, etc. At times the work can be challenging. The key is to learn how to optimize the pressure so the body and brain can read the stimulus as a positive.
- Repatterning: a fundamental aspect of the practice is to re-pattern not only the way the body moves, but how we respond to stimulus mentally and emotionally. As the practice demands presence and groundedness, we are given the opportunity to reframe an emotional reaction to a neutral observation. This utilizes the brain’s capability to rewire through neuroplasticity.
- Become masters of observation: the easiest path towards sustainable change is through observation and awareness. A key component of the Kaiut practice is to slow down, be present, and observe responses, habits, attitudes. This piece of the practice is critical for helping you recognize and shift your physical and mental mode.
- Redefining pain: pain is a negative for most of us. When pain holds a negative charge, it begins to define our reality from what we can /can’t do, as well as, what we think we can do. Through language and support, KYB teachers work with each student to begin to redefine pain for each student. Sure, pain might not be completely resolvable in every case, however; our relationship and definition of pain can change over time.
- Jointfulness: Recently, you’ve heard us mentioning ‘jointfulness’ in our class teachings. It’s pretty simple. As mentioned above (see #1), we work with the human body’s systems of joints and the tissue, muscle and nerve endings around joints. Using levels of pressure, angles of movement and length of time, we positively stress the joints (and surrounding tissue) in a way that engages the neurological system (nerve roots, etc) encouraging a spontaneous, meditative state- moving us toward a more regenerative, healing mode. Essentially, re-establishing a simple, elegant communication and connection between mind and body.
There’s no need to have stress define you. As Kelly McGonigal repeats in her book, you can reorient your relationship to stress so that more intense situations can work in your favor stimulating personal growth and success. Stress is an inevitable part of life. With a consistent Kaiut practice we can help you learn how to maximize stress in the most beneficial way.