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Finding Calm in the Chaos (Bonus EP10)

The best social sharing snippet from this interview is by far… “You have more power and control than you think you do over your life, over your situation, and it all starts with getting calm and breathing in the present moment. Once you get that first step kind of handled where you know how to calm yourself and self regulate in the midst of chaos. That’s the big domino that’s going to knock down all the other dominoes.”

In this episode, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Paul Benedict talks with you and I about the importance of realizing the power and control we have over our own life and circumstances. It all starts with getting calm and breathing in the present moment. Mastering this initial step of calming and self-regulating amidst chaos sets the stage for overcoming future challenges and achieving greater control overall.

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Raw Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the small business sweet spot. I’m your host Barb Davids, and this show is dedicated to helping small business owners like you get more organic website traffic and also to help create and distribute content and analyzing the numbers so that we can make better informed marketing decisions. It is action oriented, direct, and conversational. And if you’ve been looking for SEO or content marketing help, please stick around to the very end where I share about the group coaching program, small business sweet spot. I’m so glad you’re here. Let’s go.

Welcome to the small business sweet spot. I am joined today with Paul Benedict, yoga teacher, philosopher, all things, breathing techniques. Just a wonderful person all over. Thank you so much for joining me, Paul.

It is an absolute pleasure, Barb. Thank you.

Yay. We’re going to talk something a little bit different today and how as business owners, we have a lot of challenges in our business. We have a lot of chaos. We wear many hats and I know by going through some of our, or some of the classes that I’ve gone through with you, how those have helped me in my business and just in my personal day to day life.

But I think I actually need to step back and let you explain. So we’re here in the sweet spot for businesses, how you help people and what your sweet spot is.

I like that. The sweet spot. Well, first of all, let me say thank you for. Thank you for studying with me. And it just thrills me to no end that some of the techniques we’ve gone over and the various classes you’ve taken have provided tangible, real world, actual benefits that you can see.

And that means that means a lot. So wonderful. Thank you. I love presenting yogic things, yogic teachings in, in business situations, because sometimes when you think of yoga, it’s like, okay, an ancient. Teaching from a far off land, you have to wear a certain type of turban or robe and sit in the cave and do this with your fingers, but that’s absolutely not at all.

The, the juiciness of yoga in the business world, in our modern day society is where it really does shine. And the topic is so perfect because we can all use more calm, more. Even keeled emotions, less reactivity ability to see answers and solutions in the chaos of our modern day lives. More. We all need that.

And that’s what yoga does. So I love being the translator, the, the, the interpreter of the ancient stuff. How do we use it today? I want to interpret that. So I love, I love doing this. The sweet spot. How do we make it applicable? Well, simply you said it already. I’m. A breath enthusiast. You might not, might not have used the word enthusiast, but I am a self proclaimed breathing enthusiast.

And that’s a big part of yoga, learning to breathe. That in and of itself is, that’s one of the biggest things yoga can offer, because the breath will translate into a different state of mind, which is usually a more calm and collective state of mind. So you can evaluate a tough situation potentially, chaotic situation or God forbid a dangerous situation and make a conscious action that solves it or resolves it.

And the breath is the precursor to that consciousness that makes those decisions. So the breath, I’d say that’s the sweet spot. If you ask me what it is, it’s the breath.

I love that. And I do like the breath enthusiasts. That’s definitely you for sure. So many different breathing techniques. I keep trying different ones just to To see which one i’m gonna land on i haven’t really landed on one I don’t know if even do you have to land on one or can you do different ones?

There there are so many what you you haven’t landed on the breath of fire one where? Where we do that like in the line of the grocery store, you don’t do that one I’m,

so uncoordinated with that one. I’ve tried so many times i’m still working on that one

The alternate nostril one you’re standing in Yeah,

yeah, yeah

No, you don’t need to land on, on one, but usually we resonate with certain practices that feel best or that we can access the easiest pure, deep, slow breathing is one of the, one of the easiest or, or best, but you can rotate through a few.

Yeah.

I wonder if we should show our, show your listeners a few today. Yeah, let’s do

that. Let’s do that. We could do it. We can do whatever we want.

You say the word.

All right. First let me, I’m going to go backwards though, and then we will go into a breathing technique. I think that would be fun to show maybe one or two that somebody could walk away with and be like, okay, well let me try this today or let me try this right now with them.

That would be really awesome. The one thing I did want to actually talk about for sure. It’s so many times somebody will say to me, I can’t get my brain to stop or I can’t sit and think about nothing. And before I started meditating, I used to say that and I was like, I don’t know how people do this.

Like I sit and I think about everything and then I get so frustrated with myself that I couldn’t do it. And then I finally realized after quite some time. What it was really about and that it’s okay to have the thoughts and that how to process them and on all of that. Could you speak to how you address that with people that say that to you and what kind of advice you would offer?

I love this question so much. It’s one of, if not the biggest myths around meditation, making the mind go blank, thinking of nothing. I want to shout from all every rooftop. I can find that that’s not what we’re trying to do, you know, at some lofty future date where we’re all very controlled and our emotions are in total check and our mind is never chaotic.

Then there’s a certain transcendence where the brain is not thinking of anything and there’s something else, but that’s, that’s not for most humans. That’s not for me. Maybe, probably not for you. Maybe not. So here’s how I answer it. I love this. It’s we, the, the answer is we need to give our mind some thing to think up to one thing to focus on.

So meditation really in a practical sense is learning focus and concentration. Those are precursors to the deep transcendence that can happen later, but that’s. Less practical for most humans. Learning to concentrate and focus is the most practical way to meditate. Tremendous peace in life and changes can come from simply learning to focus.

So what do we focus on? And here’s where it gets even cooler. It can literally be anything. Hopefully it’s something. Healthy, something that’s a positive thing, something that is meaningful. What do I mean specifically? It can be your heart. You can focus on your own heart. You can focus on your slow inhales and exhales.

You can focus on a prayer. If you’re if you follow a certain religion, there might be a prayer that you like to repeat over and over again. So that it would look just like this. You would sit still. Okay. think of the of the prayer that resonates with you and you start repeating that in your mind over and over and When your mind wanders to think about lunch to think about what you did or didn’t do or anxieties or regret It’s okay Just like you said be okay with the thoughts but notice that you wandered and then oh I was supposed to be doing my prayer recitations and just come back and if it’s The heart, you can imagine that there’s an energy in your chest and sit and just focus there.

Feel like there’s a brightness or a glowing or an awareness or a consciousness. I know that’s getting a little woo woo perhaps, but it’s something to put your mind on, which does bring peace. And then you’re going to catch yourself thinking about, this chair isn’t that comfy. Oh, I forgot to turn the toaster off earlier.

Or, oh gosh, I better call this person. Fine. I know I got to do it’s okay. Bring your mind back to that. And it’s a process. It’s a process. It’s a process. And unfortunately we have to exercise a little bit of willpower, but I think it’s fortunately and some dedication and it doesn’t happen in one day. It doesn’t happen in a week.

It would take probably several. Months of some consistency to be able to sit still for 10 minutes, but it’s giving your mind something to focus on. And there’s a, yeah, it’s a very specific teaching in yoga. Give your mind something to focus on.

Yep. I love that. I have two instances for me that had me. Like tangibly learn about it because it actually happened to me and I have been struggling to to find it again, but the the first time that I realized it I was all of a sudden it stopped and I stopped stopped thinking and I saw like a yellow orb and it was just kind of like I was somewhere else but it was like completely blank it was very lovely and that happened a couple times but like it wasn’t for any length of time it was it was a pretty interesting feeling to see that that was when I was first starting but it was like you know Quite a few months into it.

And then the other time was that I was asked in this class that I had done to sit down and meditate for four hours. I thought, oh shit, what? , like, how could I even do four hours? So I put my phone outside of the room. That’s a big, and I put the alarm, yes, I put the alarm on so I didn’t have to think about it.

And I just sat there and I just kept going up and down my body, like thinking about that. And then at the end of the, it was like three and a half hours in, because I felt like I was done. And so then I went to check the phone, but about that time in, it was something just kind of came into my head and it said, you don’t have to be productive all the time.

I thought, wow, that is pretty incredible. Like, I was always wondering what people thought of or what they meant when they said you hear. The answers that you need to hear. And that was like a, just a big bang in the head. It was interesting.

That’s amazing. And that’s not unexpected when there’s something I’m going to say, it’s almost magical that happens when we do learn to focus the brain, we have a higher consciousness, the brain contrary to, so I’ll say a few things that might be controversial, but, and this is one of them, the brain, I don’t believe generates our awareness or our consciousness.

We have a consciousness that utilizes the brain for physical, mental, physical Eyes connected to the brain, nose and senses are connected to your brain. But when you, when we learn to get the brain a little bit less fragmented and random and chaotic, she’s seeing shiny things and squirrels, more information somehow is there and we just cloud or veil or cut off that information by sensory input all the time.

And. Fast paced images, Instagram, scrolling, advertising. And we don’t hear those brilliant nuggets that we already know in us, but we just kind of don’t feel or don’t see or ignore because we’re so crazy in the physical world. And that’s a, so you did it. You, you learn, you calmed, it took three and a half hours, but you did it.

And you calmed the brain and you heard some deeper intuition that, that was already there. We just didn’t hear it before.

Mm hmm. Yeah, there’s a there’s a phrase that I had heard to from someone. I think it really relates to this too. And it does take some time again. But after you get the practice with it, you have to be okay with the downtime.

Like you have to be able to sit a little bit and just be okay with it. Like it’s it’s not wrong. That you have to be doing something all the time.

I agree. And I appreciate you saying that because I’m, I’m one of, I have this, I have a symptom of that. I need to feel busy and the insight that you had. I would like to have that insight too.

You don’t have to be, was it productive all the time? Is that what your insight told you during that three hour, four hour?

I don’t have to be productive every day. That are all the time. One of the two. I wrote it down somewhere. Congratulations.

Congratulations. I’d like to receive that insight.

I can’t say that i’ve actually followed it necessarily, but i’m working on it.

The seed was

hopefully planted

Yes, i’ll

comment one more on one more Aspect of your four hour experience when you were going up and down your body There, there are so many meditative techniques that actually is, is one of the techniques that’s taught in the yoga tradition and focusing on the inner body, whether you keep your awareness still, which is harder, or you move the awareness.

And there are lots of ways to do that. Sometimes it’s the spinal column, focusing on the base of the spine and moving your attention up to the, Top of the head during your inhale and then moving your awareness back down on your, when your body exhales, and then just repeating that. And you’ll notice how fast your brain wants to think of other things, but when you give it something to move, like what you were doing up and down your body or the spinal thing, that curiously gets you calm faster because it’s asking your mind to not stay still.

But

you’re controlling where it goes and then you’re training your mind. It’s almost like neuro linguistic processing or mirroring mimicking and matching a client If you’re talking to someone across like in a sales situation and you want to get them in rapport with you Do something lean in use words that they use and get their connection and then you can start If you’ve studied i’m sure you have you know how to kind of guide the conversation Well, you’re doing the same thing with your brain when you’re giving your mind something to focus on You You’re leading your thoughts instead of letting your crazy thoughts lead you.

, I love that. So as we’re talking about finding calm in the chaos and talking about breathing techniques and being able to be resilient to the challenges of business and all these things,

you get a lot more creative you have a lot more openness to ideas to problem solving that kind of thing what do you have to say to that?

The present moment is the magic pill that brings our It opens the portal to the creativity you’re talking about the present moment and I I can reference one of my favorite authors Eckhart Tolle His first book is called the power of now which is literally about the present moment Then his second book was called a new earth which talks about the biggest detriment to the being to being present Which he says is the ego.

It’s more specifically. It’s it’s Being regretful or thinking about the past, anything in the past, anything that happened before this moment, dwelling too much and potentially being anxious or worrisome about anything that’s going to happen after this moment. He says that those two types of awareness, if you’re thinking about past thinking about future, you’re not fully present and you don’t have access to creativity, to deep wisdom and insight to peace and When our mutual friend has me in, in the mornings before your big planning sessions and your big work group time at for, for business planning, we do these techniques, these yoga techniques in the morning, because they help get you in the present moment, the breathing, the movements, the sometimes big exhales, and maybe like releases that we do, and maybe some laughter rolling around in the grass, whatever it,

almost forces us into the present moment. It’s brings us to the here and now it grounds us in a way. I know that term is a little cliche grounds us. And then once you do agree with yourself to let any worries step aside for a moment and tell yourself, okay, I can pick up that worry later. I can be worried about that later.

Once you agree with yourself to do that, then you’re, Oh, I’m open to new possibilities. Wow. I just, I didn’t, I never realized that solution to this problem. Oh my gosh. Why didn’t I think of that before? Well, cause you were crazy, crazy all the time. So yeah, they bring us to the present moment. I, that’s what I would say.

You get present creativity is available in the present moment.

I love that. And it’s so helpful as a business owner, especially so. All right. So now that we’ve gone through all that, why don’t we go through a couple of breathing techniques that you might recommend for someone who’s just starting out and trained to like dip their toe into this.

I would love

to. The simplest one is just pure, pure, deep, slow breathing. There’s a name for that in yoga and it’s called Ujjayi. U J J A Y I. Ujjayi. And that word literally means victorious or victory. And I like to call it victory breath because that simple technique of slow, deep inhales and slow, deep exhales with the sound in the throat that I’ll explain in a second, it does wonders.

It brings you in the present moment. It gives it gives us that anchor that thought that we were talking about something to focus your mind on. It gives us a little bit of that movement instead of saying, okay, okay. Think about a black dot and don’t move your mind from the black dot. Well, it’s your breath is moving and then you feel physically better.

Like right now, let’s take a deep inhale and you immediately feel better when you do that. I, at least I think most of us do when you do that for like two, three, four, eight minutes, you feel a lot better usually. So that’s the simplest one. Let’s try that. And if my technology works, right. You might be able to hear that.

Do you hear that clicking? Very simply, let’s try the very basic Ujjayi breath. So I would first recommend sitting as tall as you can and relaxing shoulders. And if you’re in a chair, of course you can lean against the back of the chair or you don’t have to, but just a tall spine and relax the shoulders.

Before we close the eyes, so for some of us who probably have not done this before, this will be a little different. Let’s put your hand in front of your mouth, open your mouth and make this sound like you’re going to fog up a glass window. Okay. Notice that there’s something that you’re doing in your throat to produce that sound.

Let’s try that same sound with your lips closed. You don’t need the hand anymore. So just go and then do it on the inhale also.

Okay. That sound. Is the gentle engagement that we produce in our, around our trachea, around the windpipe. It literally makes the windpipe smaller, a little bit smaller, we’re flexing the muscles in the epiglottis area and that makes that sound. It gives our mind a focal point to think about. Think about the sound and then it gives our breath something to, to produce.

So it’s very simple and we’ll do it slow. So we, if you’re comfortable closing your eyes to our viewers, please do that. And, and let’s through our nose, exhale and through our nose, inhale

and exhale. But the sound is going through the, in the throat, keep going, try to make the breath even slower. So clearly the air is moving in through the nostrils and out of the nostrils, but that sound we’re producing. is coming from the middle of the throat, not the nostrils. So if it was in the nostrils, it would sound like, like sniffing, but we’re doing the deeper sound from the throat.

So keep going and I’m going to introduce a click track and we’ll just do a simple four seconds. Inhale and four seconds exhale. So let’s try this together. So let’s breathe out. We’ll start in 3, 2, 1. Start your inhale, 2,

3, 4, and exhale, 3, 2, 1. Breathe in,

breathe out, breathe in,

breathe out.

So keep this going. This is very simple. Now as you’re breathing, keep your face very relaxed, your jaw unclenched. Shoulders down, face is really just soft and just, just breathe very simple. And then you could do it for a minute or two or five. So we can open our eyes and finish that for now.

That that’s just a sample of the very basic one, simple Ujjayi breathing.

That was amazing. And anybody can do that one.

I know. And if you, if you’re a nerd metronome, it’s Get a free one at 60 beats per minute. So put it on 60, which is one click per second. Breathe in. I usually do six counts in six counts out, but for people who have never tried it for is probably good.

That alone will reset your vibe.

I

think.

Yeah, I’m pretty relaxed now. So

To get a little more energy the yoga tradition tells us we can hold the breath actually So if you if that seems like a downer and for some people it might actually be too calming You might need to get ready to stand up on stage and give a presentation or meet with a new client You You might want to practice that and add some breath retention.

So think about the clicking, the four clicks for your inhale, hold the breath for four clicks, then do a four click exhale and then no holding at the bottom of the exhale and start the next breath in for four, hold the breath for four, then exhale. And you could also do a couple of like, these things, those aren’t really yogic, for example, but they kind of shake things up and get the breath going.

All right. I mean the, you get the energy going rather.

Yep. Oh, I love that. And then if somebody for us detail oriented, what’s the minimum amount of time that you would want to do a breathing technique for? And how many days a week?

Amazing. I love, I love the questions and thank you. I’m, I’m detailed too.

So I like that., If you’re willing to adopt a practice and make this a routine, I would say, do it preferably in the morning, like before you even get dressed and go do things like right after you brush your teeth or something, sit down. Start with two minutes. If you could do five or eight, that’s probably better.

But you might not be able to sit for eight minutes. You might get uncomfortable. Even do it in a chair. It’s not necessary to sit on a cushion and try to look like what you think a yogi master in India is supposed to look like. Forget that sit in the chair and plant your feet flat to the ground and make sure comfort is paramount because if you’re not comfortable, nothing, you’re not going to get peaceful.

So again, Two minutes is better than zero, maybe five. If you can do 10, sure, but don’t force it. Get a routine. And I would say two minutes every single day is so good. Five to eight minutes every other day is less amazing. And 10 minutes once a week is the even less amazing every day. I would say, and if it’s hard to sit for, for 10 minutes every day, which it might be sit for five minutes, every day, sit for three minutes, two minutes.

Love that what what do you like the most about what you do?

I see changes in people it impacts people’s lives on a physical level on an emotional level and They change they make life changes because of the way yoga changes them. They Even if it’s just going to physical yoga classes doing downward dogs and warrior poses They do change and If they take the clarity workshop, which you took or other workshops with me, I think there’s more change that can happen.

So witnessing that is just amazing. Seeing the things I believe in and love seeing them affect other people in profound ways. That’s the best, that’s the best gift. I think.

That’s awesome. I love it. And I have two more questions for you. One, if. Anybody, if somebody listening to this or watching this, they could have one take away.

What do you hope they walk away with? The

mind, we have more power than we think. You, you, me, everyone, we have more control over our lives than we think. I need to talk for three more hours to explain that, but that trust, trust me when I say you have more power and control than you think you do over your life, over your situation, and it all starts with getting calm and breathing in the present moment.

Once you get that first step kind of handled where you know how to calm yourself and self regulate in the midst of chaos. That’s the big domino that’s going to knock down all the other dominoes. I’m, I’m, it sounds crazy to think that, but, but that is, of course you need to do some other work. You need to do some other realizations and digging inside internal digging, but learning how to self regulate in the midst of chaos is probably the biggest thing.

And then you have tremendous control over life.

That is a great takeaway. I love that one. All right. And now where can people find you or what resource do you have? What would you like to share with the people that are listening?

Thank you, Barb. I do a lot of videos on YouTube and Instagram, so I’m pretty prominent on those two platforms.

My full name is very easy to find on both YouTube and Instagram. So Paul Benedict, my brand name is New Raja Yoga, R A J A, Yoga, New Raja Yoga. And that’s my brand on YouTube and Instagram. So I have full yoga classes on YouTube. I have small breathing practices on YouTube, lots of short meditations, like eight minute, 10 minute, 15 minute meditations that are free.

When Covid happened in March of 2020, I did a hundred straight days of videos of meditations. Those are all on the, on the YouTube channel. Okay? So follow me on Instagram. There, there’s a, there’s Facebook too, but I posted on Instagram and it goes to Facebook. So Paul Benedict knew Raja Yoga. There’s also a book that I’ve co-written, which is called Ancient Wisdom for a New Age, A Practical Guide for Spiritual Growth, and that’s on Amazon.

Hard cover, soft cover, Kindle and Nook. Lots of ways to, to connect.

Awesome. I will make sure to to put all those links in the show notes. And thanks again for joining me today for doing this and helping other small business owners. This was amazing information. I just loved it. So thank you so much.

Barb.

Thank you. I failed to mention though that I teach yoga publicly in physical studios in Las Vegas and at my home studio and, and I teach live online and elsewhere as well. I didn’t mention that, but there are regular weekly classes, all different kinds. So the website is new Raja yoga. com and all the information is there as well.

Barb, thank you for having me.

Yeah, you’re welcome. Definitely go check out all of Paul’s resources. It’s amazing what he puts out into the world that it just makes such a huge difference. I really appreciate it. And that wraps up today’s episode on how to find calm in the chaos for your small business.

Stay tuned for more episodes on making your business thrive online. We’ll see you in the next sweet spot. Cheers..

Thank you for sticking around. I hope you enjoyed the episode. If you’re looking for SEO and content marketing help, consider joining the small business sweet spot. It’s a group coaching program where you can get answers to your questions about your business directly and clarity around the marketing strategies that you would like to implement in your business.

You can find all kinds of information at compassdigitalstrategies. com. And if you liked the episode, please tell a friend. Cheers.

Barb Davids - SEO Consultant

Barb Davids is an SEO consultant and owner of Compass Digital Strategies. Driven by data and analytics, she works hard to get business-changing results for her clients, such as 256% more website traffic and 22% more leads. Connect with her: Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter
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