I recall an anatomy lesson I once watched, the teacher was Leslie Kaminoff, and the lesson was that the breath is the single most impactful part of our yoga practice. He said that in order to create a profound shift in someone’s experience you only had to change how they were breathing. I’ve carried that lesson with me ever since, and have found myself integrating it into my teaching and coaching practice in surprising ways.
There’s something about disrupting patterns that really appeals to me. I’ve always had a rebellious spirit at heart and I feel quite happy with the idea of transformation coming in the form of disruption.
As I begin to work with more coaching clients who are ready to step into their fullest, most authentic selves there are usually several patterns they are conscious of that are holding them back from having what they want.
Many people have a language of shame or self criticism around these patterns, and say things like, “I need to get rid of this habit, or “I need to stop doing this” or even “I hate this about me”. When we fall into this mentality, the tendancy is to push our negative habits or pattens into the shadow thinking that’ll get us closer to our goals.
Instead of taking this approach, I’ve been applying Leslie Kaminoff’s pattern disruption method. Rather than having my clients rely on will power or denial to shift a habit or pattern, I have them change one small piece of what they are doing and observe what happens.
I’ve even begun to explore this idea in a larger scale as I build a pop up yoga studio business (Queen City Yoga) with a friend. One of the key parts of our vision is to invite yoga practitioners into an experience that disrupts the pattern of their usual practice. By holding classes in unusual locations like coffee shops, or retail stores instead of yoga studios we are creating a small rift in their practice that might offer new insight into how they experience yoga.
Ultimately, the idea of disrupting our patterned behaviour is rooted in the Tantric tradition. A large part of Tantric philosophy is that we must question and unravel our conditioning along the way to enlightenment. A core tantric belief is that liberation is possible while we are still embodied, and that undoing the thoughts, patterns and habits that hold us back from knowing and being our true selves is the path to liberation.
There’s something incredibly sexy, rebellious and wild about unlearning who we think we are so that we can know our true Self.
This week, I’m encouraging you to take some time to feel into something you would like to change in your life. One of the things I’ve been trying to avoid is scrolling mindlessly on social media. I know that my brain is seeking that sweet dopamine hit every time I see a comment or like on something I’ve shared. I can feel the hold that my smart phone has on me some days (especially the days when things aren’t going so well with work or at home) and I’d love to loosen its grip. I’m guessing you might be able to relate to this.
In order to disrupt this pattern, I’ve been starting with simply just becoming aware of my pattern, noticing when I’m scrolling mindlessly and asking myself if it feels expansive or contracting. It’s usually contracting, and so I take a deep breath and I stop. Another part of this is that I also allow myself to fully dive into scrolling every once in a while. I give myself permission to marinate in the guilty pleasure and feel ALL the feels including the contraction while holding myself tenderly through the process . I also noticing the moments of pleasure that arise when I post on a friend’s post or offer some thoughts on a Facebook group or comment on an Instagram post and let myself soak into that feeling too.
Small shifts to help overcome smart phone addiction (let’s just start calling it what it is)
I’d love to hear from you, what small shift can you make toward changing a pattern or habit that you are struggling to love about yourself? If you’d like support on what that first small change could be, just reply to this email and I can offer you a few ideas for you to try out!
I hope you have an amazing week of small pattern disruptions leading to big transformation in your life. Remember, it’s really just as simple as changing the way you breathe.