How does it feel to you to say the word “no” to someone? For me, it is sometimes uncomfortable. There’s a part of me, admittedly not the healthiest part of me, that thinks I’m supposed to fulfill every request and somehow make everyone happy. Does anything like this ever happen for you? With the holiday season approaching, it seems an appropriate question, now more than ever.
In our kundalini yoga teacher training, we actually start our first module with the word NO! One of the first things we do is talk about the importance of taking care of ourselves, establishing clear boundaries, and in many cases, saying no.
Our expert facilitator of this part of the training lead us through an exercise the first day last year whereby we used the word no as a complete sentence. Trainees took turns making offers to each other, “would you like to play with this cute box of puppies?” “Would you like me to buy you a car?” “Would you like to discuss the meaning of life for twelve straight hours with me?” No matter the question, the direction was to say no, with no apology or even a “no, thank you.” Some trainees felt an awkward silence after uttering this word. But there was also lots of laughter.
This holiday season, whether you celebrate winter holidays or not, I invite you to decline some things! Here’s a strategy you can try if this is a new practice for you. Hold the offer or potential activity in your mind and heart and scan your body. See if you get a whole body yes to it.
To do this, sit comfortably or lie down in a quiet space where you will not be disturbed, and scan your entire body. Feel yourself or visualize yourself doing the thing you are considering. Close or soften your eyes and visualize or imagine everything that is happening from the point of view of having just chosen that option, engaging as many of your senses as possible to bring fullness and realness to the experience. Then, notice how your body feels, your breathing, whether there’s any tension in your body and where it is. Ask your body if doing the thing is what’s the very best thing that you could do. Finally, take a few moments to write or speak into a recording device about what just happened, so that you do not lose what you gained once your mind kicks back in and starts working its logic to make the body wrong.
Give it a try, and let me know how it goes, or even better, if this resonates with you, feel free to reply to me here with just one word: NO! I’ll get it, and I will thank you for your no.
Our kundalini yoga teacher training is somatically sensitive and permissions oriented. In every yoga class and training space, we learn how to listen to our bodies and what they want to tell us. And sometimes, when it feels most right, to say no. Go here to learn more:
Early bird pricing is now in effect for our training, which begins April 1, 2022, and we are already starting to fill. Will you miss this opportunity? I hope your answer is no!