Bending into Action

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Over the last weeks we have explored our human capacities for acceptance, adaptation, and appreciation. As we round out Yoga Month 2020, we have an opportunity to take all of these concepts—and any others that came up for you along the way—and continue to put them into action.

One of the most precious gifts of being human is our ability to engage in a process, formulate a response to challenges, and take on the inevitable shifts of life in a skillful and heartfelt way. When you take inventory of your life, your responsibilities, and your weekly rituals, what shows up? What is flowing well? What is depleting you?

By stepping back and assessing first, we can begin to lay out a plan for small actions that have the potential to yield increased vitality in our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.

A few examples

1. If you noticed that taking a 15-minute yoga break throughout the week was a ritual that worked well, you might schedule a calendar reminder three—or more times a week to take your own break, solo or with a guided audio/video resource.

2. If you find that your life is very scheduled and as a result you make less than ideal food choices, maybe your action step is around carving out an hour or two one day a week to meal prep. Or use that time to cook larger portions you can freeze and utilize throughout the week.

3. If you are aware of something you have been holding back and brewing on in a personal or professional relationship, perhaps your engagement is to step into the challenging conversation and be in greater truth.

While many of our actions instill personal wellbeing in our own daily life, it is important to acknowledge the value of both personal and collective actions that have impact on others and a wider community. As you explore where to engage more in your life, you might be drawn to support societal shifts and changes.

Action is a word that invites us into something active, awake, and moving in a direction. However many people step into action non-stop and as a result end up burning out and being less effective. Action does not have to translate into a constant state of doing many things. Yoga invites us into the possibility that we can take action around not being active—a fun paradox, right?

It is extremely courageous to take a break, to carve out unstructured time, to lie back and do a guided relaxation, to say no to social engagements, or to put down the stimulation of media and push notifications.

With all this in mind and in heart what are a few actions—or non-actions—you want to take for the next week, or two, or three? Make it realistic (accept your life as it is now), stay adaptable (what is your backup plan in case things shift?), and acknowledge how your actions support you to appreciate your life more fully in the here and now.

UW Recreation’s Mindfulness Manager, a yoga teacher trainer, and wellbeing educator, Danny Arguetty, M.A., is author of Nourishing the Teacher and The 6 Qualities of Consciousness. Passionate about helping people flourish through mindfulness, wellness, and personal self-development, he has over a decade’s worth of experience in group facilitation, one-on-one coaching, and experiential teaching.

Danny has guided workshops throughout the United States, led yoga trainings in the U.S. and India, and spoken at Facebook, Olson Kundig, Seattle Children’s, and Gravity Payments. He served as adjunct faculty at Williams College, leads a quarterly course on Intro to Mindfulness at UW, and is a former faculty member at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. Learn more about Danny in this staff spotlight covering his work at UW or visit his website.