Problems are like weeds. If you don’t extract the root, like will multiply. Here are some thoughts and tips to get to the root of your problems using yoga.

Listen to the podcast here.

One of the jobs in my garden is to scope out the weeds. This is a never ending process, and I am continually on the lookout for these unwanted guests. And as I found out, you can’t cheat. Many times when I am letting my dog run in the yard and I stop to pull out a weed but don’t take the time to get the root, I know I will see that weed again, along with its brothers, sisters, and cousins! In order to truly get the weed, I need to take the time, the patience, the effort and use the right tools to extract the whole root. And despite my best efforts, sometimes it takes dedication and a continual onslaught on that root before the whole weed is extracted.

The same can be said of personal problems and misunderstandings. If you ignore an ongoing problem and pretend it’s not there, it will eventually return. If you just get rid of some of the problem without getting to the cause, it’s only going to fester and multiply. Only by taking the time and using the tools available to you will you be able to get to the root.

As a reading teacher, we try to do this at school when we have a student who is not achieving. It takes observation, time, effort, assessments, reassessments, and many times input from other professionals to find the root of a learning problem. I admit that if we’re up against a deadline or don’t have all the information we need, we have to make an educated guess as to the cause and develop an educational plan based on the available information. I’m sure this is the same in the medical profession. Despite all the tests and specialists, sometimes doctors also have to make their best guess. We need to trust that their education and experience gives them better odds of being correct.

As a yogi, I try to practice the yamas and niyamas. These are guidelines for ethical living as stated by Patanjali. There are eight ethical guidelines which work like a map to guide you in life. Yamas are things not to do and niyamas are things you should strive to do. The first yama is Ahimsa, which means nonviolence or doing as little harm as possible. The idea of Ahimsa is to do our best to show love and compassion to all beings and that includes ourselves. The second yama is called Satya, which means truthfulness and honesty. If you are truthful with yourself you will discover this fact:

You are always at the root of your problem whether by action or inaction.

Think about that.  You are the root of your problem.

I know as I am writing this I can hear your outraged cries, “But what about what other people have willfully done to me!” “What about things out of my control!” “I didn’t start this, she/he did!” etc, etc.

Yes there are things out of your control. You don’t have control over job cuts. You don’t have control over natural disasters. You don’t have control over illnesses.

You do have control over your response. You have the control over whether to bury hurt feelings, go on a hateful rant over social media, or acknowledge that the root of this problem is out of your control.

You do have control to take time to examine your role in the problem and truthfully ask yourself, “How did I contribute to this problem?”

Then before you bury it or move past, you must do the work. Go to the root of the problem. Take the time, use the tools available to you, ask non-biased professionals, practice Ahimsa and Satya, and find the root. You know, like the weeds in my garden, what will happen if you don’t.

Getting to the root of the problem is not easy. It’s an ongoing process on your path of enlightenment.

Listen to the podcast here.