Embodying Ambivalence

Have you ever flip-flopped on a decision and then felt ready to step up to the plate? At first you’re sitting on the fence, shifting positions, teetering from one position to another, and then at last you get a gut feeling? Finally, you’ve got your feet on the ground, and you’re ready.

Check out this Slate.com article that a friend sent me, about Ambivalence. What caught my interest and imagination is the discussion about how “metaphors for ambivalence are rooted in the body.” The article suggests that a feeling of physical instability or stability may reflect and… here’s the kicker: affect… our ambivalence, related to how we feel about an issue. In one experiment:

The participants were then asked to consider their view on [a controversial issues] while standing on a Wii balance board. The people who were experiencing ambivalence moved from side to side more than those who were not. Even more strikingly, this effect worked in reverse. In a separate experiment, Schneider used the unstable board to make people move from side to side while reflecting on a difficult issue. They were more likely to feel ambivalent than people who were standing still or moving up and down.

Although this is only one experiment, what a great story for yogis and other somatic practitioners. Consider that by cultivating more embodied stability, we are supporting clarity of mind. Sthira suhkam asanam. Next time you must make a decision, perhaps rather than writing down all those pros and cons all you need is tadasana.

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