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Shhh Should
Photography by matt godfrey

Shhh Should

by Rachel Goldberg rachel goldberg
Practice Yoga | Tips

how the use of one word impacts our bodies, minds & spirits....

Whether it’s the people in our lives that care about us the most or qualified experts, we’ve all received suggestions that begin with “you should…” Though many people might have the best of intentions, the truth is that it is not a light-hearted statement at all. In fact, should comes laden with judgments, ego, attachments, and control issues.

“I think that painting would be nice in the living room.”

“You should hang that painting in the living room.”

Read those two sentences again. Do you interpret these statements differently? Can you feel the difference? The first sentence is a suggestion, an opinion, a personal view. The second sentence is a command, a statement made with a bit of authority, a suggestion that implies there’s a right way and a wrong way. Many people may not be aware of the weight that comes with using the word should (or “ought to” or “must”), but should imparts a personal belief on to someone else or a situation.

The person who uses should frequently is asserting control, power, and attachments. If you fall into that category, just think for a moment: are you trying to control the situation? Is this suggestion based on your personal experiences? When you express your opinion in this manner and the recipient doesn’t take the advice, how do you react? Do you think the person is making a bad decision? Do you take it personally?

The person who listens to should frequently is receiving suggestions from another person’s ego, experience, and attachments. You may be able to accept these “should” statements with ease at times, but there are also times when you just want to reject someone else’s ideas, without understanding why. That’s because their “should” statements are heavy with judgment and expectation; the ideas are coming from their experience, not yours. It’s a disservice to you to constantly follow other’s “should” and “ought to” statements. Be in control of your life and be empowered enough to know when you want to do something. You want to do something because it’s your truth, not because someone else says you ought to do it a certain way.

The impact that “should” statements have on your mentality, self-worth, and self-trust can be heavy. The more you listen to others, the less you are listening to and trusting yourself. This is not conducive to having a functional, happy, connected life. Especially because all those "shoulds" can have a bigger impact on your mind and body than you realize.

How does the "should"affect my body?

They say the weight of the world is carried on our shoulders. The “should” statements that we hear on a constant basis can manifest in the body by creating tension and tightness in the shoulders.

When we don’t know an answer or are uncertain about something, we tend to shrug. We shrug as a sign of indifference or sometimes as a sign of defeat. When we’re hurt or want to take issue with something, sometimes we’re told to “shrug it off.” Shrugging without stretching will create muscle tension and knots. This just adds to the weight on the shoulders.

Yoga can lift the weight from your shoulder

A yoga practice connects our minds and bodies, for in many cases there is a disconnection between these two. Yoga postures will reveal information about your body that you may not have been aware of before, such as where you’re holding muscle tension or joints where stiffness reigns.

Physical yoga poses help alleviate tension and relieve stiffness in the joints. Here are five common yoga poses that you can incorporate into your routine to open up the shoulders & remove the shoulds from your shoulders:

.Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
.Cow Face Pose (Gomukasana)
.Thread the Needle Pose (Parsva Balasana)
.Shoulder rolls – to the front and back.
.Heart Bench – this safe, comfortable chest opener and back bend also allows the shoulder blades to gently, safely open and melt onto the back.

Breathing exercises help with anxiety. If you suffer from anxiety or have trouble making decisions, you may be someone who relies on others’ opinions and input.  

Meditation is a part of the yoga practice that is often skipped or over looked, but it is the essence of the yoga practice.

There are countless benefits to a yoga practice. Self-awareness is one of the first benefits people notice. Yoga works to quiet the mind, which allows space and time for our inner truth, our deepest desires, to come out. Some of the greatest products of a yoga practice are improved health, strong self-reliance, and greater self-empowerment. Self empowerment leads to an internal knowing of what to do, relieving you of doing what you should do according to others.