The more yoga you practice the more empathetic you become. You begin to notice how outside influences effect your body & mind. Caring for yourself by maintaining a healthy diet, participating in regular exercise and having adequate rest becomes essential to maintaining quality of mind. In addition to caring for yourself, you will also become more conscious of how other peoples energy impacts you. Most commonly people feel happy and energised around open and positive people whilst negative people leave you feeling anxious, tired and heavy. As a result most people choose to surround themselves with likeminded people that support the practice of yoga, introspection and self development. But how can you continue to interact with the challenging people in your life with out causing harm to yourself or them?
1. Set an Intention:
Before meeting up with that challenging person, ask yourself what do you wish to cultivate during your interaction? Perhaps you just want to provide support to a longtime friend who is going through a challenging time or maybe you are fulfilling family duties by supporting your partner at a family event. Either way, ask yourself what do I wish to cultivate during this interaction?
"I want others to feel safe and supported in my presence."
"I want to eliminate the need for competition."
Always set your intention from a place of love and compassion and you can't go wrong. When you feel yourself being challenged during a interaction revisit your intention.
2. Set boundaries:
Boundaries can relate to the amount of time you spend with that person, the conversation topics you engage in, the places you go together and the foods/drinks you may consume. Setting boundaries for yourself ensures that you stay true to your beliefs and values and protect your energy levels.
3. Practice compassion over judgement:
Rather than pretending to listen and quietly judging, open you heart and connect with each individual you interact with. Be a pillar of strength and support as people vent there pain, suffering and fear.
4. Choose your battles:
Do not react to anger and aggression. If you notice a person is getting upset over your point of view, agree to disagree, offer a mutual and neutral resolution and promptly retreat from the topic. It is not your job to provide people with unwarranted opportunities for introspection. This is their own journey. Simply notice your own reactions, emotions and thoughts in response to their anger. Remember everyone is viewing the world from their own perspective.
5. Reflect on experiences:
After you have spent time with a challenging person review the experience. What in particular caused emotions or reactions to arise in you? How did you react? Why do you think this might be? Write down you reflections in a journal and review them later or during a contemplative meditation.
By honouring your own health and offering compassion during your interactions with others you will be able to maintain the integrity of your practice and limit your own disturbances!
Good luck Yogi's!