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The Freedom to Choose: Exploring the Lived Intersection of Yoga and Viktor Frankl's Philosophy

I prepared this image yesterday. Soon after, a venue I use for my other business @singandsignhenleyandmore announced on social media that they had closed with immediate effect, the theatre trip I had planned with my parents for Friday needed cancelling due to train strikes, and our boat engine overheated and the boat we were taking down the river with the children cut out and drifted into the bank.

Now I appreciate that already that sentence is very much overheard in Waitrose! I am fortunate to be in the position for any of those things to have gone wrong in the first place, and I am deeply saddened that another business has not survived the harsh environment we have at the moment. The staff have been amazing to work with and I really feel for them 💜

In the space of an hour, all best laid plans lay in tatters, and we were in a potentially dangerous situation on the river with the children 😱 (without being able to power the boat, we aren't able to steer it, on a windy day, the width of the boat acting as a sail, risking pushing it into any oncoming vessels and eventually the weir.....)

But this quote rang true. Keeping calm, knowing how contagious fear can be, Tobie cracked on with fixing the engine, I got on with finding a new venue, messaging customers and sending condolences to staff, rearranged theatre dates, and the children read books, made Jenga buildings, and came up with a motivational song about how "we can do it"!

The children and I chatted together about all the positives - we had delicious food and drink already with us so wouldn't go hungry, had the SUP so could get away if needed, had each other, and had books and games to play, and while we moored the boat (v touch and go with whether the engine would cut out again risking going into our neighbouring boats), marched up and down inside chanting "we want to do it, we can do it" 😆

The day looked completely different to what we thought, but come the end of the day, we came out closer and happier than when the day began in spite of the turmoil.

There is always a choice. Viktor Frankl survived a concentration camp and in his book "Man's Search for Meaning", he explains that even in the darkest moments, we still have the choice to pause, and choose our response.

For me, yoga gives us this space. Traditionally, through yoga, we are able to move into the witness state - the "be"-er rather than the "do"-er. We notice that we are not our thoughts, our movements, our breath - that although they contribute to us, they are not us. Through stilling the jumping around of the mind (yoga citta vrtti nirodah), we pause long enough to be able to notice, and as Frankl says, in that space is choice, and in that, freedom.

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