6 ways to deal with a bully - yoga comes to the rescue!
Are you being bullied? Whether its at school, at work or even at home, its not much fun being intimidated by someone who you have to face every day. Animals and humans can sense anxiety, fear and stress which gives the bully power to carry on what they're doing...and apart from making you miserable, it will almost certainly make you ill too. Here are some ideas which may help when you have to face that dreaded bully.
Practice standing in your own power and see the change that you are, its very empowering. Its simple too - Do you remember anyone telling you to take a deep breath, count to 10, or telling you they had eyes in the back of their head, well its not too different from that.
If you have a yoga practice, you can do these practice on your yoga mat in any standing pose, warrior poses are the obvious ones but you could just as easily practice sitting on a chair at your desk, you don't need any yoga props. Then try out some of the practices during your day, moving around, on the tube where you are surrounded by lots of people, as you walk towards someone who knows you well to see if they notice anything, on your way home alone at night...and of course, approaching a person who is making you anxious.
I have suggested some made up mantras which you can play with and I'm sure you'll make up your own - make them positive as you can. I find humour and bad language helps!
1. Feel your roots going from your navel all the way to the centre of the earth - body strong as a tree trunk. Take a deep breath or 10 and repeat to yourself mentally - no-one can push me around
2. Look forward as if you had big soft eyes in the front of your shoulders, and the back of your head - I've got my eyes on you...yes all of them
3. Be still, rooted, silent, focussed inward, then start to walk slowly. As you breathe in, use a word like STRONG, as you breath out, maybe COOL. After 10 breaths, repeat to yourself mentally - I am standing in my own power
4. Use ujjayi breath - victorious breath (half closing the back of the throat so the breath sounds like a baby snoring, waves at the shore's edge) - use the breath to cool your nerves, so nothing can throw you off-balance/off kilter. Repeat to yourself mentally - May the force be with me
5. Use Moola bandha, draw up through the perineum and anal sphincter. Repeat to yourself mentally I am containing my emotions...you ****hole!
6. Think of two people who you admire for their strength, power and calm approach, whether real or imaginary. Place your imaginary friends at either side of you and visualise them standing with you, shoulder to shoulder. Repeat to yourself I and my allies are witnessing this behaviour...you and whose army?
This practice may sound a bit weird or plain silly. Try it - it may be helpful when faced with bullying tactics - don't let them get the reaction they want. Often silence is very disarming.
Tell someone who may be able to help or be able to witness what's going on. Make notes - what's happening, how does it make you feel, how its affecting your life, what you would like to say to the other person, should you report it?
I'd like to add a 7th way having practiced the 6 steps on your own. Ghandi was a great believer in ahimsa, non-violence, in the face of any opposition, and not surprisingly, ahimsa is one of the first practices of yoga.
In the presence of someone who is making you feel like this, offer them another way. If you can't offer a hug or its just completely inappropriate, how about a smile, a hand-shake, a truce, a cuppa. Often the bullies behaviour is easier to disarm if they find that they are not getting the reaction they want, or they expect you to rise to the bait. Then who's afraid, mother**********?
If you have any tips to help others deal with bullies, please share them with us at yogaunited.
Judy Hirsh teaches yoga, relaxation, and related practices to people of all ages, sizes and abilities.