Wednesday, April 18, 2012

No-No. Yes-Yes.

In my children's yoga classes we always end with the "No-Yes" Meditation.

Since it is a meditation for children, it includes a lot of yelling. And while you might argue that yelling is not conducive to peacemaking and soothing your noisy, tired soul; you are wrong.

I recall, on numerous occasions, my mother excusing herself to her bedroom and screaming into a pillow. This would typically be after I threw a fit because my brother touched my stuff and I began yelling for 45 minutes about his poor behavior, followed by one of us pushing each other and then some sort of chaos involving thrown toys or glitter or both.

I always thought she needed medication. But now I have two little crazymakers of my own and I get it.

Screaming out all the angst and frustration and rage is the pathway to peace.

Our young children do it constantly. They never squash down their feelings of frustration or disappointment or rage or angst, unless we make them. We train them to squash it down and to be appropriate because, well, there is a time and a place to yell. And our frustration belongs to us--it does not, in fact, belong to our children or to our neighbors or our friends or our frenemies or anyone else.  We cannot and should not go around yelling at people. But, we should certainly yell, once in a while. If we don't, we are just lying to ourselves and someday all that hate will spill out into universe.

Unreleased hate builds up. It makes wars. It makes angry people. It makes lasting self-hate.

The No-Yes meditation creates a perfect time and place. For my young students, it works like this:

We close our eyes and sit with crossed legs. We inhale and exhale a series of loud and fast "No's." Then we inhale and exhale a series of loud and fast "Yes's"

The idea is to yell and to get out all the No's--all the negatives, all the things we want to yell, but don't. And then to fill the universe with all the yes's--all the beauty, all the things we want to share and shout to the universe, but can't.

For older children, the meditation can be taken to the next level. I often instruct my tween and teenage students to visualize all the things that make them angry and frustrated while they scream No. Often the No's sound aggressive and angry. Then with the Yes's, I ask the students to visualize all the beautiful and amazing things in their lives and shout it out with every Yes.  The sound of the positive Yes's sounds like someone shouting joy from a rooftop.

For me, who is most comfortable with a pen in my hand, I often do the No-Yes meditation as a journaling practice. First, I write down all my no's--sometimes specific and sometimes I just write No. And then I rip up the paper and toss it.

Then I write down all my Yes's-again maybe specifics or maybe just the word, Yes. I keep that paper.

The idea is not to compare the bad to the good. It is to ditch the bad and keep the good; always keeping what is real and true.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. YES!






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