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Wellness Wednesday

I've been reading, off and on, this book by Judith Hanson Lasater, aka, the woman who everyone wants to be their yoga mom. I've underlined, dog-eared, and written in the margins, and have even reread some chapters. I'm nearly halfway through but have no rush to finish, partially because I don't want it to end!

In today's post, I wanted to discuss shifting one's perspective. It's incredible how even a slight shift can drastically change our views (pun intended?). As a therapist, I have started to become more aware of how often I need to shift my perspective when sitting with a client; I must notice my immediate perspective or initial reaction, but then I must also be aware of the client's perspective, as well as other people who may be involved in whatever it is the client is sharing. I must be objective and reflective, and certainly refrain from judgement.

Sure, life will challenge us, as Judith writes, on a daily basis. The only thing within our control is our response to each challenge, our interpretation of this challenge...our perspective. We've talked before about pausing before reacting, and this is just as relevant within this context - if I can pause, check in with myself and observe my own perspective and awareness of the challenge, then I also possess (believe it or not) the ability to shift my perspective in a nonjudgemental manner.

Alright, I'm about to go all yoga mindfulness mind trick on you - this is something that yoga teaches us, taking that pause, shifting our perspective. Now please don't misunderstand, in no way am I saying go book the next yoga retreat to Bali, or even go to a local yoga class; I'm merely bringing to light (...because you know, namaste) a way to learn to shift your perspective. In yoga, when we practice the asanas, we are [usually] guided by our breath. While transitioning through poses, we may pause for an inhale or an exhale; our body then shifts into a different pose...and boom, perspective has shifted. Our perspective of our body's positioning, of our breath, of our mat, of the room, of the concerns of the day...we let go and allow ourselves to submit to our breath.

Remember that meditation challenge for this month? How are you doing with it? It's ok if you've skipped a day or so, but here's something to try if you are ready to continue: when life throws a challenge at you tomorrow (or even tonight), pause and take a few deep breaths (this is something that Judith elaborates on in her book). Maybe try inhaling and exhaling evenly for five counts...

Inhale...1...2...3...4...5...
Exhale...1...2...3...4...5...

Notice the shift, notice if there is a change in how you choose to react. That's right, choose to react. This is something over which we have control. You'll be astounded at how, by pausing to breathe, can offer a gentle shift in your perspective.

P.S.: If you're ever feeling playful, you could totally pull a Coco or Phina and physically change your perspective of your own every day life. My husband and I are so amused by our cats, as you well know - I love how sometimes they'll roll around and look around at the apartment, wide-eyed, as if they're seeing something new. Take a cue from a cat, or your own pet, and try to change your perspective - lay on the floor of your home and check out the ceiling, lay a different way in bed, sit upside down on the couch...be silly and see what happens.

- S