There’s a lot a person can learn by understanding the meaning and concepts of the unconscious and subconscious. In the best practices of diversity and inclusion, it will benefit us when we understand how our mind model work consciously, unconsciously, and subconsciously. Psychologists believe we’re able to navigate our emotions and reactions better when we’re able to understand the unconscious bias vs. subconscious bias.

Three main levels of mind models

There are three levels of the mind model – conscious, subconscious, and unconscious.

Briefly, consciousness defines our thoughts, actions, and awareness.

Subconscious is defined as the reactions and actions we realised when we think of it.

Unconscious is defined as the deep recesses of our past and memories.

What is Unconscious?

Contrary to the conscious mind, where we can and readily acknowledge feelings and cognition, we define unconscious as a deeper mental process. Scientists have agreed that it’s difficult and almost impossible to measure unconscious mind events because it’s not a neuroanatomical structure.

The unconscious is a process that happens automatically. Human’s conscious thoughts can’t examine this process because it occurs underneath the conscious awareness. However, researchers have hypothesised that the unconscious affects human behaviour.

According to Freud, the unconscious stores all repressed thoughts and feelings. These thoughts and feelings can manifest in both everyday and unexpected situations, often caused by a trigger. For instance, suppressed hatred towards one’s father’s alcoholism can be triggered by the smell of liquor.

It’s theorised that it’s difficult to measure the unconscious mind, but Freud believed we could access it through psychoanalytic therapy. Through psychoanalysis, the unconscious can be “lured” out because it’s thought to that repressed thoughts and feelings are the sources of many psychological issues.

Unconscious Behaviour examples

Examples of unconscious events include suppressed feelings, auto reactions, complexes, and concealed phobias. Historically, feelings, thoughts, and responses that are outside of a human’s consciousness were attributed to a divine’s role in dictating a motive or action.

The most common example of unconscious behavior is the Freudian Slip. It’s a phenomenon where a person makes a memory or a verbal mistake e.g. calling a spouse’s name by the ex’s name or using the wrong word for something.

Listeners often interpret these mistakes as the speaker’s hidden emotions. Even though they are seen as accidental, Freud believed it reveals more than what it seems. Supposedly, the slips show a much deeper and more real secret thoughts and feelings a person holds.

There have been some studies conducted to find the correlation between these verbal and memory mistakes to the unconscious. It’s theorised that the more suppressed thoughts and feelings a person has, the more likely he or she to commit verbal errors.

Another example, though more complex than a Freudian slip, is internalised racism. Psychologists and mental health professionals believe that even if we’re consciously against racist ideology, everyone is likely to have some conditioned  internalised racism.

It’s an unsettling thought, but by understanding and exploring our cultural make-up and upbringing, we might be able to confront racist conditioning. Conditioning is an essential factor in analysing to know where our unconscious behaviours stem from.

What is Subconscious?

The subconscious mind is a secondary mind system that regulates everything in our life. In psychological terms, we define subconscious as the part of our mind that is not currently in focal awareness. In simpler terms, it’s the barrier our mind makes because the brain is continually receiving information through our senses.

However, this barrier is not blocking everything. It stores the information in the brain for later retrieval. You may have heard the saying that our mind forgets nothing. The subconscious acts as a filter, so we’re not overloaded with stimuli from our environment.

Examples of Subconscious Behaviour

Subconsciousness allows us to do things we don’t have to think about, but we can alter them if we choose to. A good example of subconscious behaviour is breathing. We don’t have to think to breathe at all, but we can change how we control our breath and its pattern.

Other examples of the subconscious are subconscious memory or automatic skills. Pianists or typists don’t have to look at the piano keys or keyboard to know where the keys are. Automatic skill started as a learned skill, but as we repeat the movement, the executive function fades over time.

Resistance towards change is another example of subconscious behaviours. Survival is wired into our psyche, but sometimes our gut instincts may be harmful to us. Gut instincts are subconscious behaviour that tells us what to do and what not to do. However, gut instincts can be wrong sometimes.

We may assume that finding happiness is good, but the change that we need to make to achieve that happiness may cause us fear and pain. Fear and pain are not necessarily bad, but our subconscious may tell us otherwise and thus deterring us from making that leap.

The difference between unconscious and subconscious

The unconscious and subconscious are two distinct phenomena. The unconscious is a process that happens automatically and is not available for introspection. The subconscious, by contrast, is part of our consciousness process that is not actively in focal awareness.

You can derive the subconscious through introspection that you can likely identify your behaviour subconsciously, motivation, or impulse. The unconscious can’t be, for lack of a better word, “summoned.” For example, it would be much harder to derive or determine the point of origin for your deep-seated phobia, but you can easily alter the way you breathe.

It’s not uncommon for some to use the terms interchangeably because of their subtle differences. One of the easiest ways to understand them is by imagining an iceberg. What is visible is the conscious, while what lies below and deeper are the subconscious and unconscious.

An iceberg is larger than what the naked eyes can see when the entire structure is taken together. However, both the tip and what’s below exist more than what is noticeable. As much as the unconscious is not available to introspection, it’s possible to find its origin with the help of mental health professionals.

Conclusion

The study of the human psyche is interesting, both to professionals and layman. Understanding the unconscious vs subconscious can help us navigate our emotions and reactions better. When we can find the anchor of how we think and behave to what our brain has experienced, it may allow us to have better and healthy consciousness.

In our world of creating a diverse and inclusive society and workplace, it is critical and important for us to understand how we make decisions and judgement consciously, subconsciously, or unconsciously. At the end of the day, you are fully aware that there are too many types of diversity that could affect our decisions. Awareness is our first line of defence against discriminations and prejudice.

Keeping the tradition alive come join us for 108 Sun Salutations as different teachers on Gozo will each host their own event of 108 Sun Salutations on Tuesday December 21st for Winter Solstice in Gharb
Donation: 10 euros (all proceeds to the Gozo SPCA)
Booking is necessary
Typically yogis do 108 Sun Salutations. Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salutation, is a series of 12 postures performed in a single, graceful flow. Each movement is coordinated with the breath. The Sun Salutation builds strength and increases flexibility.
The 108 ritual is performed 4 times a year, with the start of each season, to acknowledge the changing world around us. It usually takes about 1 1/2 – 2 hours to complete.
What Happens on the Winter Solstice?
On the day of the winter solstice, we are tilted as far away from the Sun as possible, which means that the Sun’s path across the sky is as low in the sky as it can be. Think about the daily path of the Sun: It rises in the east and sets in the west, arcing across the sky overhead. During the summer, the Sun arcs high in the sky, but during the winter, it arcs lower, closer to the horizon.
Why 108?
The number 108 carries spiritual significance in many cultures:
108 is the number of “Upanishads” comprising Indian philosophy’s “Vedic texts”.
108 is the number of names for Shiva (a really important Hindu god).
108 is the number of names for Buddha.
108 is the Chinese number representing “man”.
108 is the number of beads on a Catholic rosary.
108 is the number of beads on a Tibetan “mala” (prayer beads, analogous to a rosary).
108 is twice the number “54”, which is the number of sounds in Sanskrit (sacred Indian language).
108 is six times the number “18”, which is a Jewish good luck number.
108 is twelve times the number 9, which is the number of vinyasas (movements linked to breath) in a Sun Salutation
108 is the number of Sutras in the Yoga Sutras.
1 stands for Higher Truth, 0 stands for Emptiness and 8 stands for Infinity.
***
SaNamNamaste xx
I’m inspired to share such a potent practice with you all. The inspiration came to me through many students feedback stating they just didn’t have the discipline to stick to a consistent practice. I know how much I LOVE these 40 day Sadhanas and the beginning of the year is when I always do one so I thought I’d invite you all to join in.

I also realise the importance of having a daily practice and how much better I feel for it.

The Importance of Self-Discipline by RADIANT BODY YOGA, Kia Miller

‘Sadhana (personal practice) is the cornerstone of the practice of yoga and the process of self-transformation. There is truly no more valuable thing we can give to ourselves. It is this ritual of centring  ourselves within our SELF that enables us to walk through life with an open heart and with grace. Sadhana is a practice of self discipline, which leads to direct experience and an expansion of our awareness.

Our sadhana, our spiritual practice, needs constant vigilance; old habits can be hard to break. Therefore we need to develop the muscle of self-motivation and will. We need to be willing to set aside time and to attend to the inner experience with the same enthusiasm we may attend visiting a new country for the first time.

Get up with time to set up, set up by aligning your energy, attitude and commitment for the day, and keep it up day after day. This consistency gives us steadiness and excellence over time and prevents us from getting swept up in a reactive mode to things around us. This daily practice also allows us to maintain our radiance and impact in life

 

WHY 40 DAYS? 

In the Yogic tradition it’s believed that it takes 40 days to break any negative habits that block you from the expansion possible through breath, kriya or mantra.

I personally do a few 40 day practices / year and have done so for many years now. It gives me an anchor, a focus, peace & energy and so so much more. I feel balanced and when I’m done I feel so good that I stuck to my commitment for the whole 40 days which is what builds integrity of character –  keeping the word we make to ourselves, the most important and the most harmful to break.

Remember, a habit is a subconscious chain reaction between the mind, the glandular system and the nervous system. We develop habits at a very young age. Some of them serve our highest destiny. Some do not. By doing a 40, 90, 120 or 1000 day special sadhana, you can rewire that chain reaction. You can develop new, deeply ingrained habits that serve your highest good.’

 

We will work with a different practice each week. The practices will consist of small seated movements, pranayama (breathwork) and sometimes sound through using our voices to cleanse and clear our minds, bodies and spirits.

 

When:

January 17th – February 25th

7.00 – 7.30 am CET — EVERYDAY

Where:

LIVE ON ZOOM

Invest: 40 euros for 40 days

Payable via: Revolut +356 99670342 OR direct bank transfer

 

“All sadhana is meant to purify the mind and make the mind one-pointed and inward so it can be directed toward the centre of consciousness within the inner chamber of your being. Physical growth is in the hands of nature; mental growth and spiritual growth are in your hands.” – Swami Rama

 

The Quality of your Life Depends on the Quality of your Breath 

Greetings Compadres!
Fall has finally arrived here in Gozo with cooler temperatures and rain (yay) turning our landscape from shades of brown to green.

Fall has always been my favourite season. In the Yoga Tradition it’s believed that this is the Spiritual New Year. Fall’s theme is RELEASE and BALANCE of mind, body & soul.
What better way to do that than through your BREATH!

Ah the beloved breath! We wouldn’t be here without it – how much importance do you give it considering it’s keeping you alive?

Breath Check Practice:
* What is the quality, quantity and shape of each breath you take?
* Do you naturally breathe in and out from the nose or from the mouth?
* If you feel anxious, stressed, facing a challenge and/or conflict what happens to your breath?
* Can you feel that each inhale offers stimulation and each exhale relaxation?

I recently read a book I highly recommend called
Breath: New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor
He uses a practice called Sudarshan Kriya which is a breath exercise from the Kundalini Tradition hailed as THEE breath practice to bring your body, mind and soul in balance.

Research has proved that this breath exercise has helped people with mental disorders come off their medications, helped asthma sufferers to no longer rely on inhalers, cured depression, ptsd, anxiety etc. It’s powerful and simple.

The eyes remain closed the entire practice
We use a breath called Ujjai pranayama where you restrict the breath coming in and out from the nose from the back of the throat. Kind of like fogging up a mirror but with your mouth closed and on both the inhale and the exhale.

Then it’s as simple as:
Inhale from the nose and count to 4
Hold the breath in and count to 4
Exhale from the nose and count to 6
Hold the exhale out and count to 2
REPEAT for 20-30mins for full benefit then rest in meditation

Here is a link to follow so you can focus on breath and not on counting, this is from the Art of Living

If you do practice this I’d love to hear your progress and experiences.

Our monthly workshops will continue through the winter!
Seeing that the Fall season is all about RELEASE we will work with a kirya set for SELF RELIANCE.
When practiced, this kriya helps us to connect with our internal compass to know the truth within. We connect with the infinite self upon which we can rely.
Radiance is blocked by fears. Fear comes with dependence. The only dependence that is acceptable is complete dependence on the Guru in YOU and wisdom, for that will lead to self-reliance vanishing all fears. If your self-reliance is strong, you are protected and those that are with you are protected.
The first exercise balances the aura, while putting pressure on the liver to stimulate cleansing; the second and third exercises open the heart centre to generate self-compassion and surrender of the ego to infinite wisdom; the fourth exercise increases circulation of blood in the liver; the fifth exercise directs the flow of sexual energy upwards and the sixth exercise brings the realisation that as a finite identity we dwell in infinite wisdom. This realisation develops Self-reliance. – KYT
Location: Gharb, Gozo
Cost: 60 euros payable via Revolut or Direct bank Transfer
Times: 11.00 – 15.30
* Includes a healthy vegetarian lunch
* Please advise of any dietary requirements
* Space is limited to 8 participants
SatNamNamaste
Michelle x

Finding Meaning

Good morning, good afternoon or maybe good evening to all of ye – September has arrived and here in Gozo we’re hoping the cooler temperatures will start soon as it’s been one HOT summer!
We did manage to jet set off the isla for a month to France, Switzerland & the Azores and I’ll never underestimate the inspiring power that travelling provides. Looking around with a new set of eyes as we set sights on natures magnificence, getting lost through streets we’ve never walked, sitting in cafes and watching all the lovely peoples, bathing in waterfalls, hots springs and the sea. Back home now refreshed and waiting for the weather to match. 🙂

The search for meaning becomes predominant for me when I travel.
Have you ever wondered about life’s meaning?
Do you ever find meaning through your challenges and/or conflicts?
Do you have a habit of giving everything you go through a meaning?
Do you ever make a situation into a story that means more than it really did?

Finding Meaning….

My niece recently recommended a great book called ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ written by Vicktor E Frankl. This man survived 3 concentration camps and as a psychiatrist he had a very interesting perspective as he watched how everyone dealt with the situation they were in. His conclusion is that those who made it through were the ones who could find MEANING through what they were experiencing. The ones who couldn’t, didn’t make it, they couldn’t see the point in going any further.

I like that kind of meaning machine. It leads us to growth and an eloquent way of seeing our challenging situations.
If LIFE were to ask you “What is the meaning of your LIFE?” would you have an answer?
If you don’t here is a breath practice to connect you deeper IN

A breath practice to bring you closer to you:
* In a comfortable seated position begin to notice your natural breath cycle
* Now begin to inhale and count to 5-6 the exhale to a count of 6-10
* Do this for a few minutes
* Once you’re comfortable with that begin to inhale and exhale for 5-6 seconds and hold the inhale in for 3-6 seconds and then hold the exhale out for 3-6 seconds.
* Do this for a few minutes
Then release, come back to your natural breath and notice how everything feels.
The slower our breath the more in tune we become.
*****************************************************

Here’s a talk I found informative, inspiring and forward thinking from one of my favourite doctors who is also an environmentalist – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOmPHFiOMxI

Wishing you all a lens that allows you to see the bigger picture
SatNamNamaste & thanks for reading!

Woman Going Grey Reporting:

I’ve been grey haired and dyeing my hair for many years now.
I’ve stepped into numerous salons with curiosity to how I’d be supported if I mentioned that I want to grow out my grey hair – It’s sad, scary, aggravating & a whole host of emotions to report that 90% of the time the feedback I received from both the stylists and the other female customers present was –
‘No, you can’t do that – you will look so OLD’ :\\ shocking!

How much more UNSUPPORTIVE can it get?

This always made my blood boil as I’m a firm believer in women supporting women.
Who is to say that we all want to look young forever?
Why is it all about ANTI AGEING instead of PRO AGEING?
So much social pressure assumed that what we ALL want is to look young forever.
Further into my research I came across an article by the Guardian about which bikinis are best for what shape and each paragraph stated how a woman can make her body look better than it already is – ARGH!
No wonder we have such a hard time accepting ourselves…

My next step was to research some bios of women who did it, grey hair and all – the ones who were happy to embrace the age and stage that they were in – the practice is presence and as one woman stated:
‘I’m not young anymore, I was at one stage and now I want to experience the age of where I am’ – now that INSPIRED me…

So further along the lines of grey here I am at 50 letting it all GROW – it’s funny how just a few months ago I felt dirty to see my grey roots show and now it doesn’t bother me at all – a simple MIND switch and I embrace my new look with curiosity along with all the different looks I receive as I GROW along, not stuck in my youth, not stuck to others opinions or the social pressures we’ve been subjected to.

I do this not just for me but for all women, for my nieces, for their children, for my students and for those women who think we all want to look young forever. In hope that all men will stand alongside their women and support them as they embrace the natural phase that they are in.

Men & Women alike lets Unite for Naturalism & Acceptance.
Supporting one another to Embrace the Age we ARE.

“There are plenty of things to be anti about…aging isn’t one of them” – Jamie Lee Curtis

Remembering to pause and take a breath before we react, can shift the energy of the outcome.

We have all had the experience of reacting in a way that was less than ideal upon hearing bad news, or being unfairly criticized, or being told something we did not want to hear. This makes sense because when our emotions are triggered, they tend to take center stage, inhibiting our ability to pause before we speak. We may feel compelled to release the tension by expressing ourselves in some way, whether it’s yelling back at the person yelling at us, or rushing to deliver words of comfort to a friend in trouble. However, there is much to be said for teaching ourselves to remember to pause and take a deep breath before we respond to the shocks and insults that can come our way in life.

For one thing, our initial response is not always what’s best for us, or for the other people involved. Reacting to childish rage with childish rage will only escalate the negativity in a situation, further ensnaring us in an undesirable dynamic. Similarly, when we react defensively, or simply thoughtlessly, we often end up feeling regret over our words or actions. In the end, we save ourselves a lot of pain when we take a deep breath and really tune in to ourselves, and the other person, before we respond. This doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t say anything, although in some cases, that may be the best option.

Some situations require a fairly immediate response, but even just a moment of grounding ourselves before we do so can help enormously. The next time you find yourself wanting to react, try to pause, and in that pause, take a deep breath. Feel your feet on the floor, the air on your skin, and listen for a response to arise within you, rather than just going with the first thing that pops into your head. You may find that in that moment, there is the potential to move beyond reaction and into the more subtle and creative realm of response, where something new can happen.

The inability to receive support from others
is a trauma response.
Your “I don’t need anyone, I’ll just do it all myself” conditioning is a survival tactic. And you needed it to shield your heart from abuse, neglect, betrayal, and disappointment from those who could not or would not be there for you.
From the parent who was absent and abandoned you by choice or the parent who was never home from working three jobs to feed and house you.
From the lovers who offered sexual intimacy but never offered a safe haven that honoured your heart.
From the friendships and family who ALWAYS took more than they ever gave.
From all the situations when someone told you “we’re in this together” or “I got you” then abandoned you, leaving you to pick up the pieces when shit got real, leaving you to handle your part and their part, too.
From all the lies and all the betrayals.
You learned along the way that you just couldn’t really trust people. Or that you could trust people, but only up to a certain point.
Extreme-independence IS. A. TRUST. ISSUE.
You learnt: if I don’t put myself in a situation where I rely on someone, I won’t have to be disappointed when they don’t show up for me, or when they drop the ball… because they will ALWAYS drop the ball EVENTUALLY right?
You may even have been intentionally taught this protection strategy by generations of hurt ancestors who came before you.
Extreme-independence is a preemptive strike against heartbreak.
So, you don’t trust anyone.
And you don’t trust yourself, either, to choose people.
To trust is to hope, to trust is to be vulnerable.
“Never again,” you vow.
But no matter how you dress it up and display it proudly to make it seem like this level of independence is what you always wanted to be, in truth it’s your wounded, scarred, broken heart behind a protective brick wall.
Impenetrable. Nothing gets in. No hurt gets in. But no love gets in either.
Fortresses and armour are for those in battle, or who believe the battle is coming.
It’s a trauma response.
The good news is trauma that is acknowledged is trauma that can be healed.
You are worthy of having support.
You are worthy of having true partnership.
You are worthy of love.
You are worthy of having your heart held.
You are worthy to be adored.
You are worthy to be cherished.
You are worthy to have someone say, “You rest. I got this.” And actually deliver on that promise.
You are worthy to receive.
You are worthy to receive.
You are worthy.
You don’t have to earn it.
You don’t have to prove it.
You don’t have to bargain for it.
You don’t have to beg for it.
You are worthy.
WORTHY.
Simply because you exist.
-Jamila White, @inspiredjamila
Coyote Phoenix

Awakening the Ten Bodies:

Hola compadres!
I hope this newsletter finds you in a good inner space while the world navigates it’s way around viruses, vaccinations and freedom of choice.

It’s been a hot sweaty start to the summer here in Gozo.
We kicked off Summer with 108 Sun Salutations with a group of 6 of us, done in just 1 hour, the energy was amazing as you can see from our faces 🙂

How’s summer starting for you all?

This month I’m  working with the Ten Bodies as we study in the Kundalini Tradition
In the west we are fixated on the physical body and most familiar with it – but could you imagine that your physical body is like the suitcase for a few other bodies too?

The Ten Bodies Are:
The Soul Body, the Positive, Negative & Neutral Mind, the Physical Body, the Pranic Body, the ArcLine, the Auric Body, the Subtle Body & the Radiant Body

Here are some questions to ignite the Ten Bodies:
* What part of your mind do you listen to most? The Positive, Negative or        Neutral?
* Do you feel connected to the voice of your soul? If so, write down how…
* Do you feel physically balanced? If not, why?
* Do you trust and listen to your intuition?
* Do you find it hard or easy to trust in general?
* Do you find you have an excess of energy, a stable amount of energy or         do you often feel low in energy?
* Do you practice seeing beyond what is right in front of you?

As yoga practitioners we learn that in addition to the Western way of looking at anatomy, there is also a more subtle energetic anatomy to awaken to. One of the ways we can understand our existence and enhance our potential is to learn about and work with our Ten Bodies .

The work is to keep these Ten Bodies in a state of balance. The middle way. As with most things in life if we can just find that centre line we remain in harmony, in balance with the universe.

Here is a 30 minute FREE practice to Awaken the Ten Bodies which can all be done seated. There are a few FREE practices on my YouTube Channel so please do subscribe and enjoy the practices & the FREE soundbath meditations as much as you like!

I appreciate your readership very much and it’s always a pleasure to hear from those of you who get some insights through these newsletters and/or those of you willing to share some of yours…

MBY 2021 Offerings:

KriyaAsana Live on ZOOM | Tuesdays
18.30 – 19.45 CET
(email info@michellebartoloyoga.com to book in)

Kundalini Workshop – Detoxing the Mind
Saturday September 25th | GOZO
11.00 – 15.30
60 euros

MBY KriyaAsana Week Long Retreat
October 10 – 17th | GOZO

MBY KriyaAsana 200 hr YTT 
October 20 – December 14th | GOZO