Today it is pretty common to feel rushed off your feet. Being busy has become somewhat glamorous and glorified. Yoga teaches us to step inside, notice how our body is responding to different stresses, different stimuli, and how we can regain balance.
Many, including myself, first step onto a yoga mat for physical exercise. Understanding yoga as ‘asana’ seat/posture, and looking to move our bodies after sitting in front of brightly light screens at work and then relaxing on our sofa at home. A beautiful evolution happens as a regular practice develops, and what once was physical exercise becomes a sacred space.
Thinking back to 2013 I now see how far my yoga practice has taken me. I was dependent in my relationships, not feeling I had an identity without someone by my side. When asked why I did not enjoy ‘me time’…I was confused. It was boring and what was I supposed to do in my own company? How do you ‘hang out’ with yourself? Before yoga I was very resistant to stillness, to my own thoughts, and feelings. I was dependent on external stimuli to fill space, create distractions and keep me occupied until nighttime. This had a number of knock on effects. Two big one’s were that I invited people into my space without thinking (I wasn’t too concerned with your character as long as you were around I could be distracted…resulting in various dramas that I am not proud of), and when I tried to sleep my mind would just…not…slow…down. It was constant. My thoughts jumped here, there and EVERYWHERE. I used to get so frustrated as I lay there worn out from being so busy during the day, and STILL not being able to sleep.
Now, with the final months of 2016 drawing in I reflect. Looking back only a few years, I recognise that I held no love for myself. I gave out my love to as many as I could, in the hopes that someone would fill me up with theirs. I didn’t step inside. I was looking everywhere else but inside! Yet all we ever need is within us, we are our own saviours. We can empower our lives, find wisdom from painful experience and joy in stepping past fear. I truly believe in whatever variation of ‘your vibe attracts your tribe’ you want to use. The energy you seek out is what you will call into your life. So, step inside. Meditate, move, reflect. Take time to understand where you naturally give your time and energy, and where you neglect. Breathe some light and love into those dark spaces.
I recently told my partner that to me yoga is life. Yoga is the practice of life, being humble, open and ready to work. I dedicate my life to sharing this practice and am filled with gratitude on a daily basis for the path yoga guides me through emotionally, mentally and physically. I continue to develop a friendship with myself and now choose to set aside time on a daily basis to meditate. Yoga continues to teach me that to be open takes courage, letting go requires strength and to help others you must first be committed to yourself…this requires self-love. I choose love.
In today’s 24/7 society you may feel so busy that to slow down feels like a waste of time, unproductive, or pointless. I challenge this. We deserve to rest. We deserve to reflect on how our decisions are affecting us and the people around us. We deserve to tune in, to tune out. Dedicate as little as 5 minutes on a daily basis to honour yourself. Close your eyes, sit down, and listen. You’re in there too, patiently waiting to be heard. There’s so much you can learn from yourself if you learn to listen.