Layer Five, Week One – Sunday


Sunday’s Focus

Think of the relationships in your life right now. Which ones feel like they tax, distract, extinguish, or overwhelm? Which ones amplify, excite, elevate, and inspire? Which ones feel fluid and which others hard? This week you will go through your relationships and begin to unravel how and why you make things hard and when you allow them to be fluid. Today, pay attention to the general nature of your relationships, observe them in a detached way and gather information.



Sunday’s Concepts

The list goes on with number five, Flexibility. Flexibility is a willow. The wind blows and the willow just goes on being a willow. It doesn’t fight, complain, resist, or judge. It willows. As you watch the linked video, can you imagine yourself calmly being the willow or does it bring up anxiety or fear? Do you want to fight the wind, hide from it, or run? How flexible can you allow yourself to be?

Non-opposition, range, elasticity, and non-attachment are the bendable parts of your flexibility. Flexibility is your degree of Chill.

  • Non-opposition is the state of being tolerant without deciding to be tolerant.
  • Range is the degree and scope of what is acceptable to you (your comfort zone) before you go into reaction.
  • Elasticity is your capacity to rebound from and adapt to change.
  • Non-attachment is how effortlessly you can alter the configurations of your bodies.

Non-opposition is the most efficient state you can maintain. Presence, creativity, and intimacy will always have a very high degree of non-opposition. Non-opposition is accepting without deciding to accept, it is existence without judgment. If you want to be incredibly intimate, a great leader, and abundantly kind, amplify and enhance your non-opposition.

Your range of flexibility can be identified by the ramping up of your resistance. When you are approaching the edges of what is comfortable to you, you will start to resist. Mental and emotional flexibility are just as important as physical. You probably have a pretty good idea the ranges of your physical movement. Do you know where the edges of your mental and emotional ranges are?

Elasticity is another key feature of flexibility. It allows you to spring back, to take energy coming at you and redirect it without effort in another direction. Be a human Superball!

Non-attachment is really a component of non-opposition, a place to start. It begins as the process of de-valuing the images, beliefs, and judgments you hold and moves toward the place of acceptance for what is. Non-attachment is the bringing of your attention to your trajectory instead of your results.

Be flexible, elastic, and unattached. Practice non-opposition. Nothing will contribute more to your growth as a human.

Layer Five, Week One – Monday

Monday’s Focus

Focus today on what your taxing relationships feel like in your body, what labels you attach to them, what emotions are stirred, and how you create limits around your relationships. Can you feel your desire to create distance when it arises?


Monday’s Concepts

Physical flexibility is more than your range of motion and your elasticity. It is your tolerance for discomfort and your ability to tolerate expansion. Healthy physical flexibility is the ability to sense when you are nearing the boundaries of your range of motion and not bullying yourself into injury or limiting yourself because of fear or habit. Your movement habits are your physical flexibilities. Your daily movement patterns will be signposts for your availability to increase your flexibility. How often to you explore your physical edges? Which edges do you typical explore?

You are drawn to things that resonate with your current imbalances.

Here is an example I saw repeatedly in my yoga teaching days. People who are mentally and emotionally inflexible tend to gravitate toward styles of yoga with a bunch of rules and very strict guidelines. They are rule followers drawn to a style that expects them to conform. Their mentally and emotionally rigidity unbalances them and doing a style of movement that encourages rigidity increases that imbalance.

They were physically flexible and generally very strong but that increased their imbalance They got physically stronger and more physically flexible while reducing the amount of mental and emotional flexibility they had. Their physical strength became the avenue they used to shunt energy from any discomfort in their mental and emotional bodies. Their physical strength buffered them from being able to challenge their emotional strength. They hid behind their physical strength and overvalued their physical flexibility.

People who are mentally undisciplined, emotionally frenetic, and physically hyper-mobile tend to like yoga styles that lack any structure or depth. They do something superficial that is going to intensify their imbalance. They get together, do their own thing without any guiding principles or a clear trajectory, and primarily do the stuff they are already good at or comfortable with. They do what is comfortable without exploring any fresh edges or hidden tensions.

There are no bad yoga or movement styles, but we all would be better served doing the things that feel the least comfortable to us and finding a style of movement that increases our balance.

Where are you inflexible in your life? Where do you fall into your familiarities and how does that increase your imbalance? Where are you stubborn and what are you stubborn about? Stubborn is inflexible. Inflexibility limits opportunities. Whom could you be and what could you accomplish if you weren’t so stubborn?


Layer Five, Week One – Tuesday

Tuesday’s Focus

Today, watch and try to understand what might be going on for the other person in your taxing relationships. See if you can discern how they might be feeling, what emotions are playing in their subconscious, and how they are creating limits for their interactions (keep your observations to yourself).

Tuesday’s Concepts

Mental flexibility is your ability to embrace new ideas and fresh paradigms. It is your ability to shift your mental gears without the sound of clashing. It is being able to feel the pull of distractions without getting distracted.

Mental flexibility is your ability to question and devalue your predispositions, beliefs, and biases.

Here is something to contemplate (stretch your mind). Your whole life you have probably been told and believe that there is duality, that duality exists: good/bad, positive/negative, right/wrong, healthy/unhealthy, kind/unkind, happy/unhappy etc.

What if it doesn’t. What if duality is just a concept to justify your judgments and limiting beliefs? Let’s consider the idea of positive and negative. In math, numbered line segments (like a tape measure) start at zero and count up with the assumption that the counting on the other side of zero will count down (as negative numbers). Here is a graphic.

Picture a tape measure where you can magically move the numbers and increments. You measure out 14 inches. One side of your tape measure says zero and the other side indicates 14. Now, move the zero to the middle. Now one side of your tape measure says -7 and the other says 7. Now move the zero to where the original 14 was. Your original zero will say -14. The value you assign is wholly dependent on where you put the zero.

How happy, depressed, mad, successful, or loving you value yourself to be is completely dependent on where you place your zero.

Or like money in your bank account. You have $10 dollars and if you spend it, you have zero dollars. If you spend $12, you are overdrawn by $2. You buy a house and take out a mortgage. You convince yourself you own the house and devalue the fact that the mortgage holder actually owns the house and is letting you live there as long as you continue to make payments. I would guess most people would worry more about being overdrawn a few dollars than they would worry about the hundreds of thousands of dollars they owe on a mortgage. Being overdrawn a few bucks at the bank is generally considered a negative but being a homeowner and owing a ton of money is generally considered a good thing … different scenarios, different zero placements.

Everything in your life is that way. Happiness can be measured the same way. Wealth, hunger, kindness, fear, hot, cold, loved, smelly, smart, profitable … the measure of everything as positive or negative depends on where you place the zero and where you place the zero is a choice.

Layer Five, Week One – Wednesday

Wednesday’s Focus

Non-taxing relationships will be your focus today. How do you feel around people who inspire and uplift you? What does it feel like in your body? What emotions bubble up? What thoughts, images, and beliefs are ignited? Do you feel a desire to get closer to them? What does that feel like?

Wednesday’s Concepts

Emotional flexibility is the skill required to emotionally multi-task. Can you allow yourself to feel multiple emotional states without preference? Can you be happy and frustrated or sad and elated? Can you feel devastating grief and still be incredibly grateful? Sobbing laughter is a great example of emotional flexibility.

Emotional non-opposition is your ability to disregard triggers. Can you exist and be present in your family, work, or relationship dynamics without falling into old patterns? Can you see an ex-partner or employer without allowing yourself to emotionally ruminate?

Your emotional range is how much you allow yourself or others to feel before you react. What do you do when someone you love is sobbing? Do you sob with them? Do you comfort them with the intention to try to get them to stop sobbing? If not, how long do you maintain your equanimity before it feels like something must change? Can you be a willow while someone, including yourself, sobs?

Emotional elasticity is challenging for me. I have a hard time letting go once I get triggered. I have a lag time before my system resets. My emotions linger liked the smell of fried fish. What is interesting from an energetic point of view is how quickly I transition one direction (triggered) and how long it takes in the other direction (balanced). Brain chemicals probably play a role as does my desire to deflate.

What about you? Are you predisposed to feel certain ways about certain people, beliefs, situations, actions, or reactions? That predisposition limits your flexibility. You are attached to your beliefs and they act as leashes for your emotions. The magic of non-attachment is that it allows for the possibility that every moment can have any quality, value, or outcome. You open yourself up to what is currently inconceivable.


Layer Five, Week One – Thursday

Thursday’s Focus

Watch and feel what might be going on for the other people when you are interacting in non-taxing relationships. What are they feeling? What expectations do you think they have? What is their emotional palette? What are they doing to increase intimacy, connection, and collaboration? Can you feel their limits?

Thursday’s Concepts

Energetic (subtle body) flexibility is the ability to shift energy between your bodies. Psyching yourself up (emotional energy encouragement) before your downhill mountain bike race to supercharge your physical strength, endurance, focus, and coordination is an example. Taking the heartache of a loss of relationship and using that energy to run a marathon is another. Feeling incredibly fearful and using that emotion to fuel an offensive or defensive action or reaction is the most common example.

Subtle body flexibility is also how easy it is for you to share a space with someone who is in a completely different energy configuration. People who work in the mental health field have a great deal of energetic flexibility.

Subtle body flexibility is understanding that negative energy doesn’t exist. All energy is positive. How you metabolize, ignore, or defend against it is a choice.

  • How little you can be influenced by non-beneficial input from your subconscious mind? Your subconscious mind is, by nature, oppositional.
  • Your range of energetic flexibility is the degree and scope of what is acceptable to your subconscious mind (your comfort zone) before it goes into reaction.
  • Elasticity is your capacity to rebound from and adapt to the reactions your subconscious mind instigates. It is converting and redirecting energy coming at you to something beneficial.
  • Subtle Body non-attachment is how effortlessly you can alter the configurations of your bodies to rebalance your energy.

Look inside for your predispositions. Are you generally and primarily a physically hyper-sensitive person, do you overthink things, or do you find yourself immersed in your emotions? How often are you aware of your imbalances and how easy is it for you to rebalance?


Layer Four, Week Four – Friday

Friday’s Focus

Your interaction with your environment is a choice you make. Explore the flexibility of non-attachment. Where are you the willow? What did you identify in this week’s focus that might challenge or increase your willowness?

Friday’s Concepts

Environmental flexibility is primarily non-attachment and tolerance. Environmental flexibility is the degree to which you exist in a non-judgmental state without labeling or limiting. Can you float through the world unaffected by drama, projection, expectation, and demand?

The range of your environmental flexibility can be felt as your space. How close does someone have to get before you react (get defensive)? When I travel, I am always amazed by the different levels of personal space that is normal with people in different areas of this country and different areas around the world.

Feel into when, who, and how you have felt defensive when someone gets too close to you (invades your personal space). Is it generally a specific sex, age group, ethnicity, or degree of familiarity? Does it depend on the environment? Are you more comfortable existing on a crowded dance floor with a hundred strangers bumping into you than you are with someone sitting too close to you on a bench in a deserted park or sharing a table with someone you don’t know in a restaurant?

Environmental elasticity would be your ability to fluidly change what is safe based up the actuality of the situation rather than your beliefs, predispositions, and judgments.

Safety is the illusion of a cage protecting you.

Layer Four, Week Four – Saturday

Saturday’s Focus

As you explore your willowness, feel for the elastic quality. Where, when, and how quickly can you spring back? What can you do to increase the amount of rebound you have from non-beneficial to beneficial, from oppositional to non-oppositional, and from resistance to lack of resistance?

Saturday’s Concepts

For several years, I spent 15 hours a week in the gym lifting heavy weights. I was strong. I had bulk. I placed a very positive value on my physique and my physical capacity. I associated it with being self-reliant, self-assured, self-confident, and overtly vital. As I came to understand myself better, I realized my added bulk was a buffer to keep the world at bay. I was adding muscular armor because I was afraid.

I was working extremely hard to limit my flexibility, elasticity, tolerance, and range. I was creating a body that could provide a high level of opposition. That imbalance limited the flexibility of my mental and emotional bodies. It limited my ability to fluidly collaborate with my environment. I was unsure of myself and trying to reassure myself by pumping iron. My self-confidence was very low.

My subconscious mind had convinced my conscious mind that I would be of more value and safer if I were bigger, if there was more of me. By significantly increasing my physical strength I limited my ability to be present. The harder my muscles, the softer my emotional body became and the more I mentally disconnected. I narrowed my range with every bicep curl I did.

Examine your life and your flexibility. Find your imbalances, explore options, open your mind, heart, body, and soul to solutions that are currently inconceivable.

Flexibility is water and willow, softness, suppleness, and empathy. More than all the other components, flexibility is empathy. Flexibility is the ability to make lemonade out of submarines.

As a reminder, Balance is when you are the most efficient, strong, and equally fluid in all your bodies and every component. Your success, happiness, and fulfillment flow effortlessly when you are flexible enough to maintain or quickly regain your balance.

When you can feel balance and imbalance in your body and then allow yourself to improve your configuration, you will consistently be happier, more fulfilled, and fluid. Life, success, and playfulness happen effortlessly to the degree you are in balance and non-oppositional.


Third Eye Horse

Step 1 –Stand with your feet 12”-36” apart, your knees bent and your back straight and vertical. Pull your shoulders back and down and tuck your chin so that the back of your neck is long. Have the upper part of your leg and your feet pointing in the same direction.

Step 2 – Adjust your stance and the bend of your knees to match your physical fitness level.

Step 3 – As you inhale, collect the energy around you in every direction and bring it into the center of your head. (Anatomically into the Limbic part of your brain)

Step 4 – On the exhale, move the energy down into your low belly. (Energetically, your Hara Point)

Step 5 – Repeat for a couple of minutes or until fatigue dictates otherwise.

Step 6 – Take a break, shake your legs, loosen your shoulders and neck, and take a couple of purging breaths.

Step 7 – Move back into the shape and play with maintaining your physical balance as you fatigue.

Step 8 – Track and expand your mental and emotional balance is you physically fatigue

Why it Matters – The fatigue factor in this variation will help you to identify where and how you allow circumstances to unbalance you. The fatigue will give you the opportunity to endure discomfort while you maintain the balance in each of your bodies. This breathing technique (Kriya) will not only help center, balance, and revitalize you; it will harvest the disconnected, disjointed, and fragmented energy from each of your bodies and convert it to usable energy (life force).

Everyday Usability – Anytime you find yourself imbalanced, confused, spacey, garbled, unorganized, divided, or separated from your environment and the people in it, use this Kriya. It is magic, choose to be the magician. This variation will add a very grounding and centering aspect.

Progression – The progressions are to deepen your stance, increase the time, and increase the distance between your feet.

Rocking Horse

Step 1 –Stand with your feet at least hip-width apart, your knees bent and your back straight and vertical. Pull your shoulders back and down and tuck your chin so that the back of your neck is long. Have the upper part of your leg and your feet pointing in the same direction.

Step 2 – Adjust your stance and the bend of your knees to match your physical fitness level.

Step 3 – Tuck and untuck your tailbone, find a spot near the middle, breathe normally, and allow yourself to settle.

Step 4 – Begin to shift your hips left and right. Add a twist of the hips as you shift.

Step 5 – Explore the range of shapes you can make with your feet planted.

Step 6 – Begin to identify the physical compensations you are making. Continue for a couple of minutes

Step 7 – Increase and decrease the distance between your feet and track your compensations.

Step 8 – Return to the starting position and track the degree of balance in your mental and emotional bodies as you move. Can you maintain your equanimity? How do you compensate?

Step 9 – Play with the idea that shape and movement will connect to emotions. Find or upwell an emotion and feel it as you move. Can you feel strong emotions without letting it affect your balance?

Step 10 – From the starting position, connect to your images, thoughts, and beliefs about yourself as you move. How does that affect your balance?

Step 11 – From the starting position, connect to your images, thoughts, and beliefs about your relationships as you move. How does that affect your balance?

Step 12 – From the starting position, connect to your images, thoughts, and beliefs about your career or business as you move. How does that affect your balance?

Step 13 – From the starting position, connect to your creative body as you move. How does that affect your balance?

Why it Matters – This practice will help you find and feel your balance in each of your bodies. It will help you feel where and how movement influences your balance in your non-physical bodies. You might even find an imbalance you were not aware of.

Everyday Usability – Not sure how you feel about something? Want to double-check your intuition? Begin this movement as you mentally and emotionally consider your opportunity. How does the movement feel? Continue to move as you imagine the complete success of the proposal. Move as you consider the complete failure of the opportunity. The difference between the two will help you track where your fear lives. Try it tracking your ability and again tracking your belief in your collaborator’s ability. Feel yourself being happy doing the work involved as you move. Feel yourself frustrated, stressed, and overwhelmed as you complete the task. How do they compare?

Progression – The next step in this would be to slow down your movements and discern the subtle nature of your balance. Another option is to hang in a neutral breath for as long as is comfortable and feel for ever more subtle transitions and compensations. When you feel yourself in a compensation, relax into a neutral breath, relax your body, soften your heart, quiet your mind, and let yourself find balance again.


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