Practices for Type One

A note before you start…

 

Don’t engage with all of these practices at once.  They are meant to be used one at a time, for a period of time.

 

After you have used one of them for a while, ask yourself:

  • What have I learned about myself by working with this particular path of development?

  • What changes to my behavior do I want to make as a result of working with this practice?

  • What impact will those changes have on my life?  On the lives of those around me?

 

Then, when you feel ready, move on to another path, and work with that one.

Finally, be sure to offer yourself plenty of compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness as you tread these paths.

Practice #1 – Your Inner Critic

Notice how the voice of your inner critic tends to dominate all the other voices in your head.  Over the course of a day or two, write down all the messages you hear…all of the “shoulds”, “wrongs”, “bads” and “negatives” directed at yourself.  What effect does all of that self-judgment have on you?  Now, take some time to counter in writing each of those statements with a positive statement about yourself that is equally or more true.  What we are trying to do here is objectively notice and acknowledge the voice of your Inner Critic, while at the same time enhancing the voice of your Inner Champion.  How does she weigh in on any given self-criticism?  Working with this process over time will help you hold the voice of your Inner Critic up to the light, eventually diminishing its control over you.  The voice of your Inner Critic wants you to believe you must be right, good, perfect, while the voice of your Inner Champion will lead you toward wholeness and integration.

 

Practice #2 – Judging Others

This exercise is similar to the one on your Inner Critic above, but this time you’ll turn your attention toward your judgements of others.  So again, over the course of a day or two, take notice of and write down all the times you can remember making a judgment about someone else – all the times others made “mistakes” or “errors”, or were otherwise “imperfect” by your standards.  What is the effect of all that judging on others on you?  On them?  Now take some time to defend in writing each of those instances of "unacceptable" behavior by others from their side.  Explore them, put them in context.  Our goal here is to begin to appreciate that the “mistakes”, “errors” and “imperfections” of others are, more often than not, simply differences.  And differences are OK.  Perhaps you might even take a moment to appreciate the differences!  Spend some time noticing what was “right” about your day, even “perfect”.  This practice helps develop the neural pathways that will be more inclined to notice the positive than the negative.  Extra credit: Deliberately make one little “mistake” every day or so, such as not making the bed or leaving the dishes in the sink overnight.

 

Practice #3 – Joy and Gratitude

Make a list of at least twenty (more is better!) things that bring you joy and try to schedule at least one of them each day.  These could be simple things such as buying fresh flowers for your home, to bigger things such as scheduling a fun afternoon with friends, or a much-needed vacation.  Keep adding to your list!  From time to time, give fun and “playing” precedence over “working”.  Extra credit:  Keep a Gratitude Journal and see if you can catch yourself scanning your world for things that are “right” versus things that are “wrong”.        

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If you are irritated by every rub,
how will you be polished?
                                        - Rumi

SOMATIC PRACTICE:

This is the restorative version of Reclining Bound Angle Pose or Reclining Goddess Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Ones hold so much tension in their bodies, and can feel as if they are trying to hold up the world (like "Atlesse" in the Molly Peacock poem in Section Two).

1. Set up your props as shown in the photo.  (You can substitute a firm pillow for a block, and two folded blankets for a bolster.)

2. Sit at the base of the bolster with your bum resting against it.  Allow your knees to fall softly to the sides with the soles of your feet together.

3.  Recline gently back onto the bolster, making sure that your back and head are fully supported.

4. Let your arms fall softly to the sides to whatever position feels comfortable. 

5. Let gravity allow your shoulders to drift toward the earth, opening your chest.

6. Enjoy the pose for ten minutes or so.  You need do nothing but relax and let the world hold you up for a change.  :-) 

This a very soothing and heart-opening pose.  It should bring you a feeling of deep serenity - the "virtue" for a One.  (I enjoy putting on some soft music - like Snatam Kaur, and using an eye pillow.) 

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Photos courtesy of Yoga International