Our life is controlled by rules. Formal rules, unwritten rules, and unspoken rules. From the day we are born to the day we die, we either follow or break the rules. There are the rules created by the government that we fight to keep or die trying to eradicate. There are the social norms, those that are put in place to keep things just; to keep the same. There are familial rules, instilled from birth, maybe these even help shape our moral rules. And of course, there are the rules we create for ourselves. Do rules help us or hurt us? Are rules meant to be broken? And how do rules relate to yoga?
Every month in the 500 YTT we discuss personal development topics, and this month was all about confusion strategies. We use many different forms of confusion to keep the mind busy, and while the mind is busy we cannot be calm to reach the Self. One of the confusion strategies is Rule Follower. The Rule Follower is a people pleaser, who works to avoid conflict. It is said that one in this position does not know their own beliefs. This is a tough pill for me to swallow. I love rules; I was raised being told that following rules was a good thing. People love when I show up on time, when I follow the regulations of the work place, and accomplish the task list. But ah-ha there it is, people love it, but do I love to follow the rules. Do the rules serve my highest good?
Then there is the science of yoga, Ayurveda. There is so much information about what we should be doing to better our somas. There are reasons we become out of balance in life, and there is a proven science to tell us what to do. There is also all of the philosophy of yoga, like the yamas and niyamas, a guide of how to live our best lives. There is so much wisdom surrounding yoga, and quite frankly it can be overwhelming and sound like a rule book on life. So, the question is, do we abide by the rules or do we break them?
Imagining the infamous infinity sign from Yoga North, following rules resides on the left, and breaking rule falls on the right, where stability for self falls in the middle. Figuring out how rules support your wellbeing is balancing. Rules made by us can give us a yoga practice we need to feel grounded. We can use yoga philosophy as a guide to find our balance. Rules can keep us safe and are made for protection. Rules are made for a purpose. But knowing when it is time to break a rule, or to throw it out the window is important in self stabilizing. Breaking a rule can nurture growth. Being a risk taker can create a world we would otherwise not know. By breaking rules, we can learn about ourselves, and make decisions to better ourselves. By playing towards the right end of the infinity sign, and the left, we begin to find middle ground.
Challenge yourself to recognize your rule patterns, the unwritten and unspoken. Find the flow of following, breaking, creating, and destroying rules. But then again, maybe this is another rule…
** Allie Dittmer is currently enrolled in Yoga North’s +350/500 Hour/Level I Yoga Therapy Training **