Tag Archive for: Silence

As part of their teacher training, Axis Yoga students experiment with the application of Yamas (restraints) and Niyamas (observances) to their daily lives. This student found a new, enhanced ability to listen and focus on others through her dedication to daily silence. The following account shows how such a seemingly small step has made a dramatic difference.

In reflecting on my experiment, feelings of calm, relaxation and satisfaction arise. It’s my opinion that my personal experiment was incredibly successful. A part of the Tapas group, I originally struggled with choosing the parameters for my experiment. Through talking with my group members, as well as the incredibly invaluable guidance from Santosh, I carefully chose the impetus for my experiment.

I’m someone who is extremely social. I often talk with classmates after class, email back and forth with them throughout the week. I remain connected to social media networks throughout the day and night. I check my phone when I first wake up, always answer text messages, schedule events and keep in touch with thousands of people per week.

In telling my groupmates this, as well as Santosh, I was given the idea of silence. I’ll be honest, at first the idea scared me beyond belief. I was instantly worried about blog sponsors, emails, people not hearing from me, missing out on social activities and more. The fire grew in my stomach as Santosh continued to tell me that I could practice verbal and social silence. This idea of silence was something I had never done, something that was so totally against my normal constitution– I got really nervous.

Keeping with the idea that change is inherently good, I made the choice to be silent for four hours every day. Due to life conflicts like my job at Starbucks where I have to talk, I chose not to be silent all day– my Starbucks regulars wouldn’t like that very much, not to mention my boss! I chose the four hours solely around my work schedule. If I had plans during the four hours, I had plans. I was still committed to keeping silent. I wouldn’t check my phone, email, facebook, twitter, blog readers’ comments… anything of the sort until my four hours were up.

The first few days were torture. I’ll be honest, I fantasized about just giving up and knowing I was defeated by this idea of silence. I was worried I would lose friends, money, influence or even credibility. I kept on with my goal, however, and found the effects to be immeasurable.

First came comments from friends, family and my blog supporters, asking where I was or questioning if I was okay. It took everything in me to not write back until time was up. I even had classmates emailing me, to which I had to wait to respond.  Fighting with my internal dialogue, I waited… and waited… and waited longer. The first few four hour sessions seemed like days.

I found that after a few days, my silence got easier. It was less hectic, less rushed and more incredible than before. I grew happier, using my silence as a solace where I could acknowledge feelings and not have to explain them to anyone.

During the second week of my experiment, I was faced with hardships at work as well as in my family. Through choosing silence, I was able to listen to concerns, to feelings shared with  me. I was able to listen to everyone around me with a clarity I hadn’t before. They shared things that were new and raw. I was able to listen and focus, not just hear or acknowledge