Every once in a while, life is just plain overwhelming.
In sweet times, it feels like you are floating gently on calm seas – totally in the flow of life.
Other times, it feels like you are holding tightly onto a slowly deflating life raft – battered by the storm and praying that it lets up soon.
(We speak from experience! Yoga and meditation professionals do not get a ‘free pass’ from life’s trials.)
This is completely natural.
If you are reading this, it is likely that you believe being busy is the productive, normal way to live. It might feel as if you are not contributing – to your future, to your family, to your community – if you are not ALWAYS. DOING. SOMETHING. (More on that another time…)
Sometimes, things simply (and inadvertently) come to a head. You have so much to do that you have no choice but to schedule every minute, cut back on sleep, work through the weekend, etc. What is that old saying, ‘When it rains, it pours’?
The inevitable storm can feel oppressive and relentless. While you are in it, you might feel energetically depleted, physically ‘stuck’ and mentally fried.
Of course, this might be the perfect time to book an Exotic Yoga Retreat! (wink wink)
But because we often have no choice but to wait out or move through the storm, we would like to remind you how your yoga and meditation practices can help navigate those rough seas.
Bring your attention back to the present moment. Notice the little details of the environment in and immediately around you. What temperature is the air? What are you sitting or standing on? Is it light or dark outside? What sensations do you feel in your physical body? What sounds do you hear? Over time, a yoga practice trains us to bring our minds back to a single point of focus. When life is at its most demanding, make some time to practice bringing your mind to now.
Once you have your own full attention, pick something to focus on. The simplest and most accessible choice is your breath! You can connect with your breath in any place and at any time. First, notice the pace and quality of your breath. Then slowly increase the length and depth of your inhalations and exhalations. Notice how you respond to this change. Is it difficult or easy to breathe fully? Did you sit up a little straighter? Is your belly soft or tense?
Once you feel a little calmer, choose your next step thoughtfully. What would serve you best in this moment? Do you need a short nap? Would it feel good to move? (A few yoga postures or a brief walk outside?) Need a good cry? What, of your demands, is the most pressing or of the highest priority? What can wait for later or tomorrow? Is there anyone you can call on for support or help? (It is so tough to ask for and receive help for many of us…more on that another time, too.) Just keep breathing if you need to!
No matter what, remember that IT’S OK for you to take a few minutes to yourself. Self-care is a necessity – not a luxury. Focusing on your Self in the present moment for a few minutes will at least help you feel a little calmer – and maybe even help you see things from a new perspective.
Yoga and meditation offer simple, effective tools for coping with life’s storms! You might even consider these practices your boat – a steadfast vessel that will withstand all winds and waves.
And we promise…everything else will still be there when you return to those demands. C’est la vie!