Thirty ways to trash talk and how to stop
by Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on September 15, 2015
To paraphrase B.K.S Iyengar, the one who controls the tongue has attained self-control in a great measure.
So many of us have room for growth.
Our word, when aligned with purpose, is divine. Yet, there are many ways to talk trash:
- Gratuitous profanity.
- Gossip with the intention of disparaging someone’s reputation.
- Talking only about what we oppose instead of what we support.
- Meaningless small talk.
- Filling what could be thoughtful silences with ums and you-knows.
- Complaints rather than solutions.
- Passive-aggressive facial responses: eye-rolling, shaking our heads and scrunching our eyebrows in mock confusion.
- Manipulative rhetoric: “If that’s what you think, you’re not as smart as I thought.”
- Dismissive tag lines: “Whatever,” “I can’t even…,” “If you say so,” and the fake “Ha!”
- Self-deprecating and demeaning thoughts.
- Endless self-promotion where most of our sentences begin with “I.”
- Self-minimizing questions: “Does that make sense?” or “Do you know what I mean?”
- Criticizing rather than coaching.
- Arguing with the goal of domination rather than truth.
- Killing someone with silence or one-word answers.
- “I’m sorry” when an apology isn’t needed.
- Strategic, self-serving compliments.
- The grammar correction power play.
- Abusive humor followed up with “Can’t you take a joke?” or accusations of hyper-sensitivity.
- Revealing confidences.
- Imitating and mocking someone else’s voice.
- Making sounds that imply disapproval: “humph,” sucking teeth, sighing and sniffing.
- Exchanging smug glances while someone else is speaking.
- Waiting for a chance to speak rather than listening.
- Using others’ trash talk to excuse our own.
Bonus #31: Denying that we do any of these.
As we continue our introspective self-study of svadhyaya, we become observers of our speech. How many trash talks lurk in our bags of tricks?
Author David Frawley wrote in his book Yoga and Ayurveda, “To change something we must alter the energy that creates it.”
Cleanse and Prime the Speech Energy
Step One: Lock it down.
Begin by activating the Jalandhara Bandha. Sit in a meditative posture. Tuck your chin to your chest and then pull your chin back. As you hold for ten seconds, activate your Ujjayi breathing. As you breathe through your nose, pull the air into your lungs by constricting your throat, making the sound of the ocean.
Step Two: Connect with the Udana Vayu.
As you lock the Jalandhara Bandha, send your awareness to the current of pranic energy in the throat. As you continue your Ujjayi breathing, feel and see the energy flowing freely and without obstruction through your neck and head.
Step Three: Open the throat chakra
Release the Jalandhara Bandha lock, open your mouth, stick out your tongue and exhale with a forceful Lion’s Breath. Lift your gaze to your third-eye. Repeat three times.
Chant “ham,” the sound of the throat chakra.
Finally, release into Fish Pose. Lie on your back and extend your legs. Tuck your hands underneath your buttocks and your arms under your body. Push your forearms into the floor and push your chest to the sky. Allow your head to drop back.
Meditate on restraint. A gentle tongue is a tree of life.
Nancy B. Loughlin is a Fort Myers writer and yogi. Visit her website www.NamasteNancy.com or follow her on Twitter @NancyLoughlin. Her book, Running is Yoga, will be available later this year.