Situation Assessments: In Sickness and In Health

People in various yoga asanas. Original title ...

People in different poses.

In peace work, we often do situation assessments. We go out into the field, observe the area, conduct focus groups and interviews, and write a 100 page report. Our situation assessment includes the good and the bad, and recommendations for growth.

When it comes to ourselves, though, we don’t always remember that we are unique. Our situation is unique. Even when practicing yoga asanas and pranayamas, it is important to assess our own situation. This is one of the purposes of meditating prior to any “practice”. Such yoga can help us practice what we preach to others.

During the meditation, one can do a body and mind scan to understand one’s needs. Determining where the body needs more attention, and why, can help create that day’s practice.

I myself did some internal reflection this weekend. I had scheduled a yoga class on Sunday evening. On Friday evening, I had a terrible tension headache. I thought for a few minutes, what would my yoga books say? After reflection, I realized that yoga would not be good for my headache. And after two days, I decided to cancel the class, so that I could completely regain my energy before moving.

Yoga is useful for a number of health issues though. Research studies and classes are being conducted all over the world, about yoga and cancer, yoga and diabetes, arthritis, eye problems, and even psychological disorders. Yoga has the potential for helping one stop problems before they start as well.

Even if you are healthy, do a full situation assessment of your entire life history and family genes. You can do it during meditation, even if you don’t write it down. While you are scanning your body, think about each part and how it has been used and abused during your life. Are you prone to arthritis? Does diabetes run in your family? There are poses and breathing techniques that can help resolve those issues before they start, or at least assuage them as part of secondary or tertiary stage care. There are also certain poses to avoid, or contraindications. Once you have a better understanding of your own situation, then you can create best recommendations and proceed with the appropriate forms of yoga practice. Remember, everyone has a different situation and needs something different.

The concept of meditation should also be used in the peace field during situation assessments, or any other work in the field. It is important to take time to reflect upon what one has seen, heard, and learned before making recommendations. This way, we assess and address the uniqueness we find in each situation in the world–something definitely important here in India, where you can go 100 kilometers and have culture shock!

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