Every day we are faced with thousands of choices, big and small. We don’t even notice most of them. We choose the same food for breakfast we usually eat, take the same road to work, automatically ask the question ‘How are you?’ when we meet someone and turn on the TV at night without even thinking about it.
Making choices on autopilot is often useful. After all, it wouldn’t be practical to stop and think about every little thing all day long. But when the autopilot takes over our lives, we become powerless. We don’t see the opportunities that are right in front of us. We feel like victims of circumstances rather than creators of our own reality.
We can increase our capacity to make different, better choices by simply becoming aware that they are available to us. The more we practice noticing and exercising our power of choice, the better we get at it.
On the yoga mat
Most yoga poses have several modifications, from easy to advanced. In each moment on the mat, you’re invited to listen to your body and choose what’s right for you. You can also choose whether to engage with a pose, rest or do something entirely different. If you’re in a class, use your teacher’s guidance, but remember that ultimately your practice is about you.
Throughout your day
Practice looking for choices, no matter how small. When you notice yourself wanting to check your Facebook feed, ask yourself, ‘Is this what I want to choose right now?’ If someone suggest a work meeting at 10 am, consider if this is a good time for you. Before reaching for your usual snack, check in with your body and notice if this is what you want or if you would prefer something different.
What you think
When a thought comes to mind, especially a worrying one, do you take it as the truth and let it snowball out of proportions? While you can’t always choose what you think, you do have a choice whether to believe our thoughts or not, and whether to follow through with them further. Instead of giving in to your initial reaction, ask yourself, ‘Is this really true? Is any action required or can I let this thought go?’
How you react to circumstances
Sometimes things happen to us that we have no control over. Even then, you still have a choice how to react to what is happening to you. You can feel like a victim or you can see your circumstances as a part of life, with its many colours and seasons. You can even look for blessings (and find them) in everything that happens to you.
Tatiana is a freelance writer and a mum of three living in Sydney. After a 10-years’ break, she has just returned to full-time work. She is still finding time for yoga, meditation and mindfulness, which is making a huge difference to her sanity and her enjoyment of life.