I came home from a Yoga class recently in which the instructor urged us to employ “Gentle Activation.” She went on for a moment about how often we expect too much from our bodies, minds, and emotions and can attach feelings of disappointment, rather than acceptance of where we may be at right at the moment. Although this was spoken in the context of an asana, or pose, it resonated with me on a broader and more profound level.
In business and in our personal lives there is an emphasis on and reward granted for pushing, striving, grinding and forging ahead regardless of circumstances.
While I am a massive proponent of grit and tend to navigate life in this way, I am also always open to expanding my mind and being curious about better alternatives when something captures my attention.
There were two ways of achieving the reach, stretch and ultimate ease of accepting it, discomfort and all. Option one was to push through it to obtain the results while secretly resisting since the pain was at the forefront of my mind. Wherever there is a focus on a negative feeling or sensation – there is resistance.
This would have gotten me to where I needed to be in the most efficient manner, likely earning me the praise of the instructor for my ability to flow so quickly into the pose while doing everything correctly. Similarly, we may find ourselves applying this same technique at work or home to produce the most we can and maximize our results at any cost.
Then I thought about “Gentle Activation.” The concept was simple – instead of reaching and pushing forward, the engaged muscles were to be pushed against one another. For instance, my knee on the ground could be involved as if it were being dragged back towards me, but it never changed physical position.
It required focus, breathing, and the patience to let the stretch occur slowly, organically.
Without strain or even movement, I was able to achieve the desired result by activating the specific muscle in a much gentler way. It did necessitate holding the pose longer, redirecting my focus off of the negative on to what was working, and relaxing into it rather than resisting it, and was not my natural inclination – but it worked! Imagine the use of such ‘Gentle Activation” in our work and home lives?
Taking the time to let things develop rather than quickly download, engaging in softer communication and expectations rather than tasking ourselves and others with harsh and unrealistic expectations.
How many times do we come away from projects, meetings, dinners, and family events with a sense of let down due to our needs not being met or our egos being bruised all in the pursuit of excellence? To be clear, I am not advising that process, goals, and targets within a role or organization be dismissed for a free-for-all where there is no accountability.
On the contrary, “Gentle Activation” requires even more discipline and focus than before.
What I am suggesting is a more harmonious way to engage in life, manage our teams, organizations, families and ourselves with a more mindful and conscious choice to exhibit patience, focus, and commitment to the realization of the whole, while not at the expense of the parts.
You can spend 24 hours a day striving and pushing yourself forward. The truth is that the aftermath of the constant, relentless pursuit of a goals leaves one feeling drained, overwhelmed and with possible fallout of great advocates who genuinely want to support you.
Balance being a myth does not mean the only other option is an imbalance.
Get in tune and open up to a more realistic and gentler approach towards yourself, and those in your sphere of influence. You will be surprised how much easier the end-goal is achieved and how powerfully you can lead others through inspiration, harmony, and acceptance.