Monday, January 31, 2011

Passive? Aggressive? Assertive?

Following a yoga class recently, a student asked me what poses might help improve self confidence and assertiveness. That is one of the most unique questions that I have been asked, but it sparked some productive thought in me. (I actually offered some suggestions but I won't give them away now. You will have to attend a class to find out) I was intrigued that he used the word assertive because it is a powerful, yet appropriate way to live life.

In a learning environment a few years ago we discussed three different ways of being. One is passive. While passivity is not a bad thing people who are passive in nature often get pushed around often leading them into difficulties in life because they are unable or unwilling to speak for themselves. Depression, withdrawal from society and many other issues follow preventing the person from experiencing a fulfilling life.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is aggression. Aggression behavior shows little or no regard for others. I am not qualified to speak on this a a clinical level but overly aggressive people are very destructive and are often unable to make the connection between their actions and harm done to others. In my opinion there is no room for this in society because we are all interconnected and what we do affects others whether we acknowledge it or not.

There is a sweet spot in between these two extremes called assertiveness. An assertive person is willing to stand up for their rights and the rights of others but not at the expense of another. As I told the inquisitive yogi, assertiveness says, "I'm here and you are not going to push me around, but I will not push you around either." The thing about assertive behavior is that it involves vulnerability and risk. To assert one's self you must be open to others.

So the question is; "Can you learn to be more assertive through posture and breath." I believe so. This is an activity that involves all seven chakras, but I believe the third, fourth and fifth are critical here. That is all the information I will offer on this now. Come to one of my classes this week and see for yourself.


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