Awakened Conscious Conversations

How Do The Four Attitudes Contribute To Building Emotional Resilience In Individuals

March 05, 2024 The Gentle Yoga Warrior Season 15 Episode 9
Awakened Conscious Conversations
How Do The Four Attitudes Contribute To Building Emotional Resilience In Individuals
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Discover the strength that lies within you as we journey alongside Sondra Harper, a yogi with over twenty years under her belt, who teaches us how to weave the four noble attitudes—friendliness, joy, compassion, and non-judgment—into the very fabric of our being. This episode is a sanctuary for those seeking to build emotional resilience and find solace in self-compassion, especially in the face of life's inevitable storms. Sondra and I will share the subtle art of breathing, a powerful tool that steadies the mind and offers a steadfast anchor amidst the chaos, as well as personal anecdotes of overcoming adversity that exemplify yoga's potential for profound transformation and personal growth.

Step into the realm of gratitude and spirituality where we dissect the intricacies of the mind and the profound impact of small, yet heartfelt, daily acknowledgments on our mental well-being. Inspired by my book's 'pebble process,' we illuminate the pathway to a more positive outlook on life. Reflecting on the shared human experiences that tie us all together, this conversation is an invitation to embrace growth, reduce the noise of digital distractions, and engage with the present moment more deeply. To top it off, we offer you a Gratitude Building Meditation, a serene practice that will guide you through a garden of gratitude, encouraging you to harvest joy from the ordinary and extraordinary alike, and breathe a little easier with each moment of thankfulness.

Sondra’s contact details:  https://www.thefourattitudes.com

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Speaker 1:

So, hello everybody, I'm your host, the Gentle Yoga Warrior, and we are in Season 15, about a quarter of the way through. We made the transition from February to March as I record this podcast, and March has a little bit more oomph about it than it did the previous months. All about vibrancy, freshness, renewal, this sense of being able to kind of go for, accomplish the things that we wish for and all our aspirations. If you remember, I said this whole season builds on the year. So we did January where we planned, february where we started to build ideas, and March is all about cultivating. So cultivation, it's the time of year we plant a lot of seeds, so that is a good way to kind of see it all. But just before we start today's show, as always, let's first begin with a moment of still to just be, whether it's of observing the breath or, if you're out and about, just engage with nature, something that you can be present and completely in the moment. So let's take a nice calm, deep inhalation and, as you exhale, let everything go. This moment of still. We at Awakened Conscious Conversations podcast hope to inspire, enlighten and assist you on your journey of self-discovery. Check out our website, shamanichealingsearth for shamanic healing sessions, energy healing sessions and information on the podcast.

Speaker 1:

So this next guest will shortly be joining us Sandra Harper, author, teacher, yogi, with over 18 years of experience of a daily meditation practice and has triumphed over things, unfortunately, like cancer, anger, self-doubt and anxiety. The cornerstones of Sandra's teachings lie in the four noble attitudes friendship, joy, compassion and non-judgment. Today I've got her wonderful newsletter, which had all these fantastic tips on kind of how to have some brilliant practices in our daily life, and I went on her website and this is what she says on her website. She says my journey with yoga began 15 years ago at the Himalayan Institute, but my connection to self-discovery has deeper roots, particularly in arts and writing. For me, art and writing have not only been channels of creativity but also therapeutic avenues to calm my mind and body, creating a harmony that beautifully complements my daily practice. And now let's go on her website. I got really excited because I could see that there was a review by Kean Miller, who's that great Kundalini yoga teacher that's on the glow yoga platform have ever been on there. And Kean says my heart and mind fill the joy and appreciation as I read this beautiful book. Sandra shares profound yogic teachings relevant to every person, written in a poetic way that points towards freedom from suffering and a life filled with joy.

Speaker 1:

So about further ado. Please welcome Sandra Harper to the show. Sandra, welcome to us today all the way from Colorado. Hi, thank you. Oh hi, sandra, I've been so excited about speaking to you today and your work is amazing. I can't wait to share it with our listeners. So we're going to talk today about how the four attitudes contribute to building emotion, resilience in people as individuals, and I know you've done a lot of work on this matter. Would you mind firstly sharing a bit about your journey so far and your life's experience on your wonderful path?

Speaker 2:

So I really wanted to understand the human mind and how it worked, and the neurology, and so I started studying yoga 24 years ago and took some teacher trainings and have been to NDS seven times, studied, lived in Sangha which means community and just wanted to really get this work out there to the world about the attitudes and how they can actually help us with our everyday issues and problems.

Speaker 1:

Oh, fantastic, and I've had the grace of listening to some of your book in the audio format and I'm really enjoying it and it's got a beautiful flow and I listen to them, really interested to hear about this and what you say I think is of great value and help. And it also reminded me to have those four attitudes, something like compassion, maybe to myself, maybe that's lacking, etc. So it's really good to go over this stuff and learn more from it. Could you explain to our listeners what the four attitudes are and how they can contribute to building emotional resilience?

Speaker 2:

Okay. So they are friendliness, compassion, non judgment and joy, and they build emotional resilience because when they're practicing, we flow them inward to all the parts of ourselves that may need more attention or grace or kindness. They help us build that emotional resilience so that, no matter what's happening in the outside world, we can land within ourselves and know that we're fine. We have the ability to practice these attitudes. We can anchor ourselves to the experience of being in friendship, with our own mind and compassion for the one of us who may be suffering or needing more love.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's my point I mean there's a whole way.

Speaker 1:

Lovely, yeah, compassion, because sometimes we can get so caught up in our own light or things we can sometimes forget that people actually might need our help or we might need our own help. By being a bit more kind to myself as well, and to get that to remember all that is a really good thing to do. I also liked how you kind of weave the breathing in like the five ways to breathe. Listeners believe it or not there is more than one way to kind of breathe and unfortunately, adults, we kind of can have the habit of breathing shallowly and there's, I think breath opens up the universe to us if we want to. We would remember that. Would you mind sharing at all about the breath breathing and how that does help us?

Speaker 2:

Yes, so breath is one of our three companions that we, you know, we're born with and we carry all the way through our life. We have our body, our breath and our mind, and it's really simple. It's easy to connect yourself to our breathing and then that calms our mind. And breath is actually our most intimate connection with our inner world. It's the first place where we can begin to build that relationship is through our breathing, and it's funny because it's sort of like the elephant in the room. Everybody talks about all these different ways of helping ourselves, but very few people are saying have you considered that when you learn some technique for slowing your breathing, getting the bumps out of it, having no pause in the breathing, having it be deep and even and continuous and quiet, that you can actually create vitality for yourself on a regular basis?

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, I think we can forget that, can't we? And it is true, I know I've kind of stopped breathing if I've been, sometimes, whatever reason, I'm thinking, oh, that's why I'm stressed, because I've had a big pause in my breath, and I bring that back in and then I feel immediately calm and I know, if I, your book and your website, you go into a lot more detail about that she can help people on that, on their journey to finding better breath and how breathing helps with things like anxiety and stress etc.

Speaker 1:

Yeah absolutely, which is a great, a great thing to to help people. Women in this day and age we get to do so often forget to breathe correctly and the coming on from that. Your book talks about access and joy, which I've always been. Always makes me feel small and said joy regardless of life's circumstances. Would you mind elaborating how that is accessed?

Speaker 2:

Well, there's a system that I teach a practice of that's called the show cut.

Speaker 2:

It's a 12 session course in which we take a person, a participant, through a series of classes that help them understand how to connect mind, body and breathing together and that actually takes them on this pathway to a place within that's always been there, that maybe they didn't know how to access, and that is the joyful mind. One of the things this, this particular body of work that I wrote about, is actually from the yoga sutra and talks about transparency of mind, and transparency of mind can come when we practice the attitudes, but also when we engage in active breathing, when we can calm our central nervous system down and that allows for that joyful state that is innately within us to come forward. So it's already present. It's just that we sometimes we have so many busy things that we're doing and so many people were responsible for, and we're balancing checkbooks and we're doing all these things and we're taking care of people and sometimes we forget that we are not just a thinking being, we are a breathing being, we breathe.

Speaker 1:

So that's what the course does is it helps take people through that whole body of work so they gain their own experience with their own inner joy, beautiful so beautiful, what a lovely thing to give to people, and we'll share details with that on the show notes as well, so people know, can know how to access that. So if someone is kind of navigating through challenging times, how can we still come from a place of non-judgment and joy and and access?

Speaker 2:

that Well. So I think that's where you got to get that wider view. You have to get more like that view of these are circumstances. I am not my circumstances, these are just. You know it's, it's happening around me. It's like being in a storms. You're not the actual weather, you're experiencing the weather.

Speaker 1:

And I thought it like that. You're not the actual weather. That's a really good way of putting it. Oh yeah, I kind of have like a bird's-eye view of the whole of what's happening. Yeah, that's, that's really wise. Thank you.

Speaker 2:

And now in yourself too. What am I? You know, what's this teaching me from a position of grace? You know, we're always taught in in my tradition, that himalayan Institute, that it you want to approach things with so much grace and kindness for yourself. It's not this like pointed, what did I do wrong? Or why is this happening to me? It's like, oh okay, it's happening, let's get a different, let's get a bird's-eye view, let's look at this from different perspectives. You could.

Speaker 1:

We can't change the outside world, and yet we're part of it, you know me, it's kind of gone more vain and and that's something that we we have got access to changing from our breath and our spiritual practices and, yeah, so often we can forget. That's why people like yourself are here to to to remind us of that and help us on our part, so, as we. So, compassion is something I feel people can often forget to give themselves as well as others. What is the thing that they can stop doing in to to, to access and get back into remembering the compassion?

Speaker 2:

Start doing or stop doing? That's what I would wonder. Well, I guess it could stop being critical. That would be one way, and they could start Seeing themselves as part of the tapestry of life. They are part of the grander scheme of how the entire life force flows and that, that beauty that has been given to them and they did nothing to earn, we did nothing to earn this body, this breath, this beautiful mind. It was by grace that we got it, and Learning that it is grace that gives us that self-compassion that helps, just like okay, I'm not responsible for everything. I can just allow the grace of this life that I've been given to come forward and support me.

Speaker 1:

Hmm, yeah, I got ourselves off the plane and allow the kind of flow, rather than, yeah, getting a kind of end up in like a little box, seeing the world of Robin and seeing it from For what it is. Yeah, that's, that's very true. So what's this befriending your mind mean, sondra? And how does how do we do it? And, and I know you, you go through this in your wonderful book. If you could explain, that would be fantastic sure.

Speaker 2:

Well, oftentimes we think of friend as a person outside of us, and it is.

Speaker 2:

That's one aspect of friend, and this is particularly about the essence of friendliness, and I have found it's one of the more difficult ones to practice, because it's about being friends with your mind as it is, and you know it's said that the mind can be heaven or it can be hell, and it depends on how it's trained.

Speaker 2:

And so training your mind to turn inward through your breathing and and Also calming your mind, even if you just do it five minutes a day, can actually help you Start to build the resiliency that your mind can be your friend. It doesn't have to be this thing that drives you to do things or this it maybe says all this stuff to you and Also just accepting that you have a mind and it has a purpose you know it roams, it rotates, it, revolves it. It does its purpose and I think becoming friends with it it's a gradual process, it's not a one-time thing. It's like how do you beat out? You know, let's take your best friend, one of your best friends in the world, whoever it is and I say this to listeners, whoever they are you didn't overnight become best friends with this person. You invested time and energy and love and devotion into that relationship, to build it into what it is and and that's what becoming friends with your mind is about and your breathing. It's a process, it takes time and you know what I mean.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Yeah, it's not. It's not like a quick fix solution which we, I don't know, in this day and age it can be something that we think is possible. But yeah, like my best friend, it did take me a while to get know them. I knew straight away I wanted to to get to know her, but I made the effort. I didn't kind of just think oh hi and and just speak to her once a year, because that's not gonna cultivate thing.

Speaker 1:

It's the same of getting to know our mind and developing our practices, isn't it? It takes it takes dedication and love.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and just coming from that lens of it's possible, it's a practice. I have curiosity around what it means to be friends with my mind. You know that that can help you just right there in your daily life, like, oh, I'm curious, I'm curious, what is my breathing doing? How am I being kind to myself in my thought pattern?

Speaker 1:

So instead of thinking, oh no, I'm not breathing good enough, or I'm thinking negative thoughts, how? And telling myself, are one could instead think, be curious, a sense of wonderment about the situation or what's kind of been folding, and from that the grace comes. From what I heard you say earlier, the grace comes from being in that way, so it's all intertwined in a beautiful way. So in any book you've got lots of gratitude for your life and how gratitude really can help us. You've got expression about your wonderful family, the Himalayan Institute, which you know teachings are from With regards to having gratitude. How do you think that fits into the whole picture?

Speaker 2:

of this. Well, gratitude is like that first step. There's a process in my book called the pebble process, and the pebble process is where you just take this tiny little pieces of your life that maybe you've overlooked, and practice gratitude around them, like maybe every day you just pick something small, like the roof over my head, the clean drinking water that I have, the health in my body, whatever those smaller things are. If you're minded, you know, maybe you have a mind that's not trained towards gratitude just by doing tiny little things every day to train yourself that gratitude, that practice of just like little things, like oh yeah, I'm so grateful for the sun just finding things, just like curiously finding, like how do I find things today that I overlooked that can help me change my state of reality inside my own heart and mind, and then I can, you know, arrive in my world, my outer world, for those that I serve, whatever people do in their life with that. You know what I'm saying.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. So seeing like the small, like nuggets of gratitude, even if you're having like a stormy day, let's say what was it? No stormy day is to kind of see that, like you know, if you've I don't know if I've ever had like a, an interesting day, and I've kind of come home and just like a nice cup of herbal tea and I'm just like when it's been cold and how nurturing and grateful I am for that, or when I managed to get a seat on the underground, and when it's been busy, things like that. And it is a good way to get momentum going for building, building the gratitude. What does spirituality mean to you?

Speaker 2:

Oh, I think that for me, like, spirituality is my practice. It's practicing what I write in these, this, you know, my book and my other works. That's part of it is spirituality is just for me, it's just a word for connection to my inner self and it's also a connection to the outer world. Right, it's that inner and outer connection, that bridge, that allows me to know that life is in favor of me. That's how I would define spirituality, and it may be defined differently. Some people may want teachers to help them, Some people may go to churches, some people may go to synagogues or they may go to mass. It's spirituality is so broad, it's such a broad category and I have I come from the fundamental belief that you know exclude none. So it looks different, feels different, uses different, sounds for different people, and what I love about the attitudes is it excludes none. They are for everyone and they're applicable to people regardless of where they live or what they're doing. Everybody breathes and everybody has an attitude.

Speaker 1:

It's so true. Anyway, oh, we all have an attitude. I think that's what's so beautiful about your work. It just helps us remember and it just brings us back to who we truly are, which has kind of sometimes become not so visible to ourselves. And I think I feel I mean personally from my work it helps one see oneself at a kind of a level, and that's what I felt was really special. That's special about this wonderful work. I always like to ask this question generally is if there's something that you still struggle with and how you never get through that, because I think it helps our listeners when we hear that the human essence of everybody, absolutely I mean, I still struggle.

Speaker 2:

I have challenges around all kinds of things. Still Maybe I'm pretty good about my person, but I'm still like building my business and that's kind of a struggle for me right now. Just being transparent with you how do I build it? How do I get everything out there? It becomes a little overwhelming, which may be the case for some people when they go through things, but I just keep remembering how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I had a beautiful teacher once say to me when you're going through hell, just keep going, don't stop. And if you're struggling, just keep going, just put one foot in front of the other. And that's all I can really do. And I also have an internal belief that says struggles help me become stronger. They're here for me to like I lived weights, and so they're here to help me grow.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely, and I appreciate your honesty and how we used to navigate through that. Building a business isn't easy at all. It has. If you looked at the whole thing then it's like whoa what do I do next? Do I go here or here? But it's kind of people that ground in this does help steer through those kind of waters. Is there anything that you wish? If there was one piece of advice that you could give everybody on the planet, the universe, what would it be? What would you say?

Speaker 2:

I would ask you first OK, that's a good question.

Speaker 1:

No one's ever asked me. I would say is stay in the moment, try and be in the moment more and put your smartphones down a lot more.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I like that. That's good. Stay in the moment yeah, I guess I would also stay in the moment and be aware that you have so many resources that maybe you don't know that you have right now.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's the sound piece of advice Forget, don't we. We've got always help and we kind of forget about that. Don't forget, you've got help. Stay in the moment and put your smartphones down a bit more often. I was reading your newsletter as well, so I knew that came through and it had all those great tips about and it reminded me to have more greens. I was thinking, yes, I haven't had enough greens today and it goes into a lot more than that, but that kind of really stuck out to me. So if listeners want to, they can go on your website and join your newsletter and you have these tips on how to help them. But if I'm a listener right now and I'm thinking, oh, I really, really loving Sonia's work, how can I get a book? How can I do courses, access, all that? Could you explain how they can do that? And do you work with international clients as well?

Speaker 2:

I do. Yeah, I work with international clients and they can go on my site, theforattitudescom. We have a few things. They can get the newsletter for free. They can get my book there, they can get the physical copy of the book there and there's a free audio download of it, as I think you have. And then in April we're inviting people we're only taking limited spots to our Vishoka meditation course. It's not super expensive and it's taught over a weekend. It is live, so it's not pre-recorded, pre-digested, it's taught live in a community online.

Speaker 1:

Oh wow, that's in April, is it?

Speaker 2:

Yes, the 19th, 20th and 21st Very excited to offer it. I've taught it here in the States. Got really good feedback from I. Taught it to some doctors. They loved it. Taught it to some golf pros. It's applicable for all different walks of life.

Speaker 1:

Oh, and what a fantastic road to get on that practice and to learn more stuff. That would be great, and your book is you can get from your website. Is it on any of the platforms as well? If it is from your website? I like that. I like that. That's brilliant yes.

Speaker 2:

Well, I created my own publishing company so that I could publish it myself.

Speaker 1:

Oh wow, that's brilliant.

Speaker 2:

That's how all of my works. Yeah, that's absolutely brilliant. They can buy it there.

Speaker 1:

Oh, you know what I love that? I love that because, if not, some big companies kind of take over the world, so I like this a lot. So if you go to Sonia's website, there will be details on how to kind of access the book, her courses and to reach out if you've got any questions for her. Is there any book that really inspires you and that's helped you on your journey?

Speaker 2:

Oh my gosh, there's so many I can imagine. I mean I love Well, I love the Yoga Sutra that Patanjali wrote and my teacher did one. It's Yoga Sutra 1. And that's the Samadhi Pada. I love that and you can also try ourubbycom Easily and on the därby, let's see what's another book I really like. I like the Baga Vagheeta. Somebody asked me this the other day and I think, okay, I'm the kind of gal that reads the scriptures a lot, those kinds of scriptures because they just help me feel like. I'll share with you One of the first times I ever read this scripture, this particular scripture. It was almost like rain falling on a desert, like my mind was so thirsty for that knowledge. It just like sunk deeply in. And that is how I feel about a lot of those kinds of books, like because there's things that are pleasant and they help us for a moment, and then there's things that are truly good for us, that really take us deep within our own heart, and those are some of the tools that I use and books that I like.

Speaker 1:

Oh, anything that helps access our heart is a win, in my opinion. I'm really grateful to be here with you.

Speaker 2:

I'm so grateful. Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 1:

Oh, it's been an absolute pleasure and, as always, listeners do stay tuned. There's a meditation inspired by today's show, but do go to theforattitudescom. That's theforattitudescom, and I'll put the details in the show now so that you can access Sandra Harper's website. But, once again, the one and only Sandra Harper. Thank you so much, thank you so much. I appreciate you, thank you, thank you, I appreciate you too, thank you.

Speaker 1:

As promised, here is your meditation, inspired by today's show. Top tips for the meditation is either sit nice and cross-legged on the floor with a nice straight back Always nice to sit on a block or a cushion or that's not available for you you sit in a chair with a back nice and straight. The important thing is you're not slouching, and if you're doing something that requires you concentration, all you need to do is just pause this and you can reconvene the meditation at a time that is good for you. If you're doing the meditation, let's begin. Hello, all this is Gratitude Building Meditation and as you embark on your journey of gratitude and flow, as you learn to move and let go, what is gratitude for you today? Perhaps it's not the day that you wished for, or perhaps it's a fantastic day, but either way, from the tools of this meditation, let's build a gratitude that feels more your way. As we begin, you're just going to picture that you're walking through a magical, wonderful field. This field is vast and spacious and the sun beams down gently, warming your very being, warming your soul, as you softly start to put one foot in front of the other and you start to move forward, knowing that life is full of magic and life is full of flow, and it's time for you to learn how to let go and let gratitude into your being. And as I recall this, I completely understand. Some days we just don't feel grateful for what life is. Life, after all, can be tough fucking through this field of rich possibilities. There is a harvest of beautiful vegetables and crops, and these vegetables symbolize for you an aspect of gratitude that you can pick out from your day. So as you walk past the vegetables, whatever appears to you, pick one of those vegetables in your imagination and as you look at it, etch softly on that piece of vegetable is an aspect of gratitude that your higher self would like to remind you of today. As you gingerly look towards this beautiful vegetable, what does it say? What aspect of gratitude has it got on it to remind you to bring into this very day? Perhaps you can see lots of weeds around, but instead of focusing on them for weeds will always come, you'll never beat them Instead, can you see what is etched on another vegetable to remind you of your day? It could be something simple, it could be something vast. Perhaps you got a seat on the underground. Perhaps you got an extra day's leave, or a job that you didn't want to do. You got a pass on All these little bits of gratitude. Perhaps someone bought you a delicious cake for your birthday. All these possibilities.

Speaker 1:

As you let the flow begin to go and you breathe in this calming rhythm of belief, I'm grateful for the day, I'm grateful for this moment, I'm grateful for the moments when I feel okay. I'm grateful for the kindness that life gives me by giving me this fresh new day, or this fresh new evening, or this moment just to be. I'm grateful for the aspects of nature that shine happiness into my life. Continue with your journey through this mystical field. Perhaps there is a flower, and I call this flower your power hour, the one bit of focus that you can bring into the next hour of gratitude. What do the petals of this flower say to remind you to bring gratitude into your day? And can you say thank you to the flower, the vegetables, this mystical field, by taking a long, luxurious inhalation, and maybe this tension there, but just let it go. Maybe this tension is still there. Take a nice deep inhalation, slowly exhale and remember, no matter your obstacle for that day. Find your markers through moments of gratitude to bring in and out of your day.

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