NLP, Yoga and Meditation
Learn more about NLP (neuro linguistic programming) and how it can be used to skilfully guide individuals in Yoga and Meditation.
We are excited to host Guiding Inner Journeys - a workshop created especially created to add effective communication and help teachers create rich, vivid and meaningful inner journeys for each individual in the group at the same time.
I also took the opportunity to ask Amy about her own experiences with NLP and how it might support the teaching and practice of yoga and meditation.
What is NLP?
NLP is magic! Take NLP and apply it to something and it makes that thing better. Take NLP and apply it to Yoga, it makes yoga practice better. Take NLP and apply it to business, you get better business results. Take NLP and apply it to art, sales, music, storytelling, podcasting – it makes that thing better.
NLP is all about patterns in human behaviour and the structure of human experience. It’s about detecting patterns in human behaviour and replicating or utilising those patterns. Patterns in how we think, our beliefs our language, how we feel and how we use our bodies,etc
So for example if someone does something really well, you can unpack what they do, their behavioural patterns and replicate those patterns in yourself to get the same result. Or you can unpack what someone does that isn’t working so well, the structure of how someone is creating a problem for themselves maybe and break it so that they can’t do their problem anymore or give them a new way of doing things that plays out better.
This incredible methodology allows you to hack your brain, body and your life, re-write the code, and/or help others to do the same. NLP is the ultimate in optimisation and personal sovereignty.
With NLP you can develop flexibility in the way you think, feel and behave to optimise your experience of reality and the results you get in the world in life, business, relationships, health, wellbeing and more.
And it’s one of those things that I can talk ABOUT but you wont really know what it is until you have an experience of it. A bit like swimming or a martial art. I could talk about those things or you could read a book about those things but you wouldn’t necessarily really GET what those things are until you had a real live experience of them. You can read a book about deep ocean swimming and make sense of what you read based on previous experiences you’ve had and have the illusion that you know what deep ocean swimming is about. You may think to yourself ‘I can move my arms and kick my legs like that’ but upon being dropped in the middle of the ocean for the very first time you are going to get a very quick, visceral lesson in things like buoyancy and what it feels like to have water up your nose and that perhaps you haven’t used your arms and legs quite like this before. The best way to get a sense of what NLP is, is from a live training with a good trainer and I have some tips on my website for choosing a trainer if that’s something that you’re interested in.
How is NLP different from meditation?
NLP is about patterns occurring in human behaviour and using or replicating those patterns to get certain results which is very different from meditation.
While you can explore the way you think and feel with meditation, with NLP we explore the structure of those things and use those structures.
I do use what you might call meditative states in both my NLP Training and Coaching sessions where we use trance to soften the grip of the conscious mind, empty out to allow for something new to emerge and to tap in more easily to the unconscious mind.
How have you noticed your own life has changed since you started practicing NLP?
It’s like life was in black and white prior to learning NLP and now it is 3D, full colour, rich, vivid and dynamic.
Every day is richer and more meaningful. Every interaction is more meaningful whether that is with an animal, a stranger on the street or a friend or family member. My gratitude jar is overflowing.
I can do anything I set out to do. Everything I do tends to work out better. Even my “off” days are thousand times better.
I have incredible behavioural, epistemological and ontological flexibility which means I can authentically inhabit any world view or identity and adapt well to different situations.
How could these techniques be useful for yoga and meditation teachers?
A big part of the NLP Practitioner Program is about developing the ability to effectively and artfully guide someone’s internal experience in a particular direction. The things we do with our body and our language can have a profound effect on our ability to lead someone in a particular direction. When you can do this well, you can help someone to enjoy a magical and meaningful experience. When you don’t do this well you can mismatch their internal experience which can be incredibly jarring or create an undesirable effect that can take away from the experience you intended to create.
With NLP you can also learn to connect deeply and meaningfully with all walks of life, no matter who walks into your learning space.
You can also read people accurately so you know who is following along well and who perhaps needs a little extra attention or slightly different instructions. You can tell you who is meditating well and who isn’t. You can tell who might have something going on in their life, who may have had a bad day or who might be abreacting to something you are suggesting.
I used to facilitate some group meditation/nlp/hypnosis classes called Lazy Transformations where I was able to train useful strategies and principles for creating change, improving relationships and problem solving for example. NLP can help you to make a bigger impact.
How could learning about NLP aid in clear communication?
Communication and language is an interesting thing. There are times for example where it is useful to be clear and specific and unambiguous. There are other times when it is actually useful to be less clear and more ambiguous and use your language in a different way to create a different effect. Language shapes reality and understanding the structure of language and the different effects is a key piece in being able to shape particular realities for yourself and others. This is something we will be playing with at the workshop in October ;)
What are some of the misconceptions that you hear about NLP?
Mind control and manipulation are the big ones. NLP isn’t manipulative. PEOPLE can manipulate. Not everyone in the world has ecological intentions which is why myself and other NLP Trainers in my network run intro courses, as a filtering process. We don’t invite anyone into our courses who has unecological intentions and fortunately these folk reveal themselves very quickly in their language and their physiology so we can move them on.
Sometimes people have a narrow idea of what influence is. Anyone who has ever set out with the intention to cheer a friend up or get their friend to come along to see their favourite band, has set out with the intention to influence. You can not not influence. We are always influencing. States and ideas are contagious. In fact, I believe, we have a responsibility to learn about all the ways we do influence each other through our language and our thoughts and feelings so that we can influence in more useful and informed ways. Not just how we can and do influence others, but how we can influence ourselves for a better experience of life.
What is your favourite aspect of this practice?
Training NLP is where it’s at for me. This something that ticks all the boxes for me. It is a creative expression and incredibly stimulating and rewarding. I put my heart and soul and everything I’ve got into it and collapse in a heap at the end of the day and it’s always worth it.
That moment when something becomes possible for someone, that wasn’t possible moments ago. That’s it, right there. Especially when making that internal shift has been particularly challenging and is going to have life changing consequences.
There’s this footage of Elon Musk at one of his reusable rocket launches. You see him, upon launch, race out of the control room, out onto the lawn looking up, watching, waiting as it shoots up into the night sky and then… the sky goes black. The rocket stalls into the next phase. It needs ti kick into the next phase in order to land successfully. You can hear Elon saying “this isn’t good, this isn’t good” and then fire in the sky again! The rocket kicks into the landing phase. It’s the first successful launch and land. He’s done what apparently, couldn’t be done. It gets me right in the feels everytime. There’s something in that for me about NLP. Something that resonates.
And lastly, modelling which is another incredibly experiential thing that I can not convey in words. Exploring someone else’s internal world for either the purpose of skill uptake, creating change or sheer curiosity and fascination. We all inhabit wildly different realities and it is a joy and a privilege to spend time with someone in theirs. The connection you experience with someone as a result of modelling them well is out of this world.
To hear more from Amy, check out our recent interview with her for The Flow Artists Podcast.