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Yoga helps you make decisions

A friend of mine years ago used to always say “if it’s urgent, it’s not spiritual.” She meant that if you are pressuring yourself to make a decision too soon you might not make the right decision. Some decisions do require urgency: Should I call the police or my spouse after a fender-bender? Don’t delay after you rear end someone, take care of it now. But in a lot of average every day instances, I have found it’s best to delay.

If you are like me your mind is often in a loop trying to make decisions about this thing or that thing. That running commentary can make me feel agitated. Consequently I feel an urgency to make a decision just so I don’t have to think about it any more. I think it will be a relief to cross it off my list.

How does yoga help with decisions?

The subject of Yoga, as an entity, doesn’t actually help with anything. It’s the practice of yoga that helps. To be more specific, it’s the on-going commitment to practice, or even going to class (see Are there differences between class and practice?), is what teaches me how to be less agitated during the decision making process.

At first it’s just the act of doing poses that is a positive distraction from my state of mind. Because I have made a commitment to practicing, or going to class, I go even though I am agitated. When I am done with class I feel better. If I still feel agitated at least I didn’t spend that hour fretting on the couch eating a bag of chips.

After observing myself feeling better after practicing, even while agitated, I learned that I can live with everyday run-of-the-mill agitation. That I have more stamina than I realized–I am much tougher than I thought. My esteem is boosted! And I see myself differently.

Over time I realize that the poses do make me feel better but it’s the stilling of my mind that is playing a really big role. A bigger role in the “feeling better” than I had anticipated. When my body is calmer my mind is calmer. And when I am calmer / less agitated I can better see the reality of my circumstances. I can see with clarity and correct knowledge.

Better clarity leads to better decision making

I can’t think of many instances where yoga won’t help a decision making problem. Can’t decide what brand of cracker to buy at the grocery store? Take a deep breath (calm down) and, with a clearer mind, compare the labels. Can’t decide which college to go? Take a deep breath (calm down) and, with a clearer mind, listen carefully to the school counselor. Can’t decide if you should authorize a military invasion ? Take a deep breath (calm down) and, listen carefully to your Generals.

You might be saying at this point, “duh, of course it’s better to calm down before making decisions.” But how many of us consciously practice this in our daily life? How many of us purposefully delay so as to make a more meaningful and better decision?

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to waste the little time I have on the earth. I don’t want to waste my time fretting over things that might not even happen. I want my life to have more meaning and amount to something. Through my yoga practice, I learned that if my mind is more calm more often my life has more meaning, because I am not wasting time fretting on the couch.

P.S. I occasionally fret on the couch.

Even in a yoga pose you have to calm down so as to make better decisions!

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