Several years ago a very popular yoga teacher mentioned in a workshop that he would often run into people at a restaurant or a grocery store and they would duck and run to avoid talking to him because they hadn't been to yoga in awhile. Then they would say something to the affect of , "I'll be back, I promise. It's just been so crazy lately." He would graciously nod his head and tell them to have a good day probably to never see them again.
You see, we all have patterns. I have them and so do you! To deny that is even more defeating. Every person, including the teacher, has a life off the mat that of challenges and distractions. It's the world we live in! I am witness to such amazing effort to commit to self care on a daily basis. For some it is not an option to falter which might seem like they have such an easy life. On the contrary! Those that commit to their self care daily work hard and have tough days just like everyone. But they know that one slide backwards is one too many. It may seem trite, but we either find a way or we find an excuse. If we are constantly fighting the battle of too many obstacles that keep us from our self care, there is more to look at than just your schedule. This is not just about attending a yoga class. It is about shifting our focus entirely from over doing in every area of our life. The world we live in fosters chaos and frenzy. We live at unhealthy levels of stress and expectations and competition to do more. This is "normal". Now stress is the number one factor of poor health and we keep finding new ways to do more, then wonder why we feel so unhealthy. It is our choice to live unhealthy and stressed or to learn to slow down and make our health priority #1.
I'm sure at this point I've lost some readers by saying this, but I see it every day and you can't deny the state that we live in right now. Right now someone is thinking What do you know, you work as a yoga teacher part time! That's right, I do. However, that wasn't always the case. I came from a stressful career of long hours, checking emails at all hours of the day and responding to the needs of others in my off hours and even on vacation. I always found a way to take the burden off either my bosses or my clients by doing more myself. I was stressed, suffered anxiety, had stage 4 hypertension and high cholesterol from poor eating habits. I rarely found time for myself. But I had my wake up call when my Dad passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 62. The message was, we are never promised tomorrow. So if my Dad is looking down on me now, I don't want him to see me stressed, unhappy and unhealthy. So yes I am a yoga teacher who appears to work part-time, but I'm building a small business on my own from the ground up, so there are many opportunities for me to get overwhelmed and off the path and I do from time to time. However, now I am very in tuned to my triggers. I couldn't say that 5 years ago when I was so over stimulated my mind never rested even at sleeping hours.
When I say it's our choice, I'm not trying to admonish anyone for not getting it done. I am just saying that I know because I was there. I either made the choice after a 10 hour day to go home and become a zombie in front of the TV thinking it would provide me with a diversion or head to a yoga class or the park for a walk. I often had conversations with myself on my commute about how tired I was justifying why I couldn't go workout and would feel much better with fries and a shake. I had those feelings towards people who couldn't possibly be as busy as I was, because they could get their workout done and I couldn't. I either found a way or I found an excuse.
Today I witness people who have full time demanding jobs make time every day for their health. I also see people who don't work find all the reasons in the world as to why they can't find 30 minutes to walk. So yes we do have a choice. We have a choice of what we do with our time. Make wise use of it or not, as my first grade report card often stated. We have a choice how we respond to the situations that arise daily. We have the choice to slow down or speed up!
I am sharing a two week experiment from a book I'm reading right now, A Life Worth Breathing by Max Strom. It's called Five Things to Help You Relax in Two Weeks. Quote from the experiment ~ "Becoming more relaxed will not dis-empower you or cause you to be less mentally sharp; conversely, living in a more relaxed state will empower you, and help you to not only focus, but to also know what is important to focus on."
1. Listen or read the news once a week - no more! You will notice a difference in your nervous system in just a few days and may be surprised at what an addiction the news can be. If you find yourself having anxiety just thinking about giving up the news, we've got the makings of the issue that plagues our world today, DRAMA! You are not going to miss out on anything. It's the same every day, negative stories where only the names and locations change. If something important happens you'll hear about it. So turn off the news and set aside one time a week to catch yourself up. Preferably not before you go to bed.
2. Read! Inspiring and uplifting books.
3. Watch no violent or disturbing images on TV, Movies or Internet
4. Get to sleep by 10PM. The body replenishes and repairs itself most between 10PM and 3AM.
5. Give up caffeine, gradually. We need to stop triggering the fight-or-flight response and expect new results.
I am starting this two weeks today if anyone would like to join me! Olympics are over and the only thing on TV now is going to be political BS and propaganda. So it's the perfect time to get rid of the stress!!!!