This song is definitely on my “get up and go” play-list because it is upbeat and fun. It makes you dance and smile no matter where you are or what you are doing. It helps put a little hop in my step when I need that extra oomph.
Maybe it is through the new control in breath or the repetitive motions of yoga, but falling easily into a depression pit seems to be a behavior of the past.
The article below gives suggestions for styles of yoga to help improve one’s mental health. Perhaps what makes the most sense is making a habit of participating in a Restorative yoga class for rejuvenation. The suggested practice time calls for 20 minutes a day or at least three times a week. If one really is looking to improve mental health, a class that combines meditation before or after postures is highly recommended.
I have noticed myself setting my alarm for an earlier time just so I can sneak in a 20 minute yoga workout before a work day. I love my job, but yoga before work allows me time to myself before the craziness of retail ensues.
The article also states the obvious that if we are not currently taking care of our bodies and feeding ourselves with healthy fuel, yoga alone cannot cure the problem. Yoga is not just a practice or workout. Yoga is a full lifestyle change. It is the same with any exercise program though. One cannot expect physical changes or mental changes if other negative behaviors or bad habits are not changed also.
Yoga has easily become a new habit, a healthy habit in a mentally healthier state of mind and being. I am able to fit in yoga 5-6 days a week. Some days it may only be 20 minutes, but sometimes it is an hour practice. One thing I know for sure, the more I practice yoga the better I feel. If I skip it a day then everything seems a little off kilter.
I recently came across this blog post about allowing ourselves to be happy and have fun as we are in this very moment. There are times when we all have to take a deep breath and just let it go. We are always so worried about everything that could happen that it completely overshadows living in the present.
Living in the present has become very important throughout the past year. Maybe even more so after losing a friend to cancer only 10 days before her 29th birthday. Life is short. We have to do exactly what makes us happy. We have to shed what translates and morphs into unhappiness. We must be exactly who we are meant to be and not a carbon copy of someone else.
Indeed we must “Bloom Where We Are Planted.” Or else we face an unfulfilled life that only results in falling short of all of our dreams and hopes.
Each weekday morning I check my email for three specific emails: a daily quote, a devotional, and an encouragement for the day.
This morning was no different than the previous days, except today’s quote was not an unfamiliar tidbit this time. That is exactly where the day began to differ unlike so many previously lived.
But why was this particular quote all of a sudden creating a change? I have studied Emerson in previous literature courses. Why did his words suddenly morph something within my own head? How does a random quote have any effect on the rest of my day? Could it be due to the deeper examination of myself through yoga? There must be a connection between the two somewhere. After all, yoga is the main habit I have added to my life since my last encounter with these words Emerson gave to the world.
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.”
So my daily quest of understanding my own self was sent into a deeper thought process than usual. I began searching for an explanation as to why this sudden awakening began today, with this quote.
What did I do next?
Who wouldn’t search the all-knowing Google for an answer or a connection? Seems slightly ridiculous, but you never know what could be stumbled upon with a simple search.
What exactly did I search for?
Reflecting on life through yoga
Broad search? Yes!
My search produced ample blogs and articles that I could use to aid me in my need to solve this current conundrum.
I randomly selected one result from the first page of results. Not the first result, but also not the last. Somewhere in the middle seemed like a good place to start in my mind.
As I began reading, it became clear that the writer of this tidbit was faced with a similar conundrum as myself. Or maybe it was just the use of my favorite word, serendipity within the first line. It does not really matter though. This was exactly what I was supposed to read to understand this dilemma.
She states the exact same idea that I have encountered within all of my current coursework across the board for this semester. “As we go about our daily lives, everything that we do is filtered through our perceptions.” I believe this idea has only just now begun to really sink in to my understanding though.
She references Buddhist teacher Sakyong Mipham and his explanation that as a spiritual quest begins we think our thoughts and emotions are firm.
"But as we continue our enquiry into the mind we see that thoughts are more like mist rising from the water."
Holy cow! How is it possible that someone living in a completely different city with a different life knows?
She knows! Not only does she know, but so does this Mipham fellow.
*Insert dorky happy dance here*
Calm down, Sarah! There is more to learn and understand.
She continues by explaining that our thoughts “gain power because we believe in them and base our choices and everything that we do on them.”
The further we dive into our mind, we realize that our thoughts are not as solid as we believed, nor do those ideas define us. This basic idea is liberating within our being. It frees us from having reactions to negative things or outside ideas. Our thoughts begin to have less and less power over our lives.
Finally, it makes sense!
Before, I was so wrapped up in what I thought about anything and everything that my mind was in constant state of disarray. Now I understand why this quote suddenly had a different effect on me. This is the first time I have read it with an uncluttered mind. This is the first time I can actually imagine what Emerson may have been thinking.
If I perceive beauty all around me, then I will always find beauty whatever my locale may be.
If I perceive something to be a problem then I give it the power to become a problem in my day.
I give power to my thoughts and ideas. I have allowed people to hurt me, cut me off when I had something to say, and let them affect me negatively in the past.
Not anymore though. I wanted to have a hold on this a few months ago, but I did not have all of the tools I still needed. I believe I have all of the tools I need to move forward in more positive way now.
"We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” – Anais Nin
I recently read an article in the January/February 2012 edition of Yoga Magazine. The writer, Nicola Phoenix, gives the “Top 10 Tips for developing self-love & appreciation”…
Stop being so hard on myself. I know I shouldn’t.
Ignore that critical inner voice that nags at every little thing, all of the time. Yes, that voice should have duct tape covering its mouth already.
It is time to break this cycle. As a matter of fact, it is entirely overdue!
So I am to begin with awareness. What if being aware of my issues is not the problem? Be aware of issues without casting any judgement upon myself. Well that really hit the nail on the head. “The essence of who you are is far greater than this chattering mind.”
Second, I am to change my thought because “beliefs are merely habitual thoughts; if you think it enough you will believe it to be true.” I must reinforce self-love by using positive thoughts, ideas, and statements about myself.
Third, search for the good in the beginning. If I begin with a good thought and feel good, it will promote more good thoughts and I will feel even better. Good thoughts fuel more good thoughts. Every morning is a new opportunity to begin with good thoughts.
Next, ask myself what do I need as I begin each day. Listening to my own needs must become important to me. Take action to care for my needs. There is no real excuse for not taking care of my own needs.
The next step is knowing that I deserve to be happy. I must tell myself and believe that I “deserve to be happy, healthy, fulfilled, feel secure and safe”. It does not matter if I was bombarded with negative ideas and words that I am not good enough. There can be no blaming of others within this though.
The sixth step is leaving no room for feeling guilty for desiring a life that works best for me. It does not matter if anyone else understands my wants, wishes, or ideas. They are mine alone and I will live them regardless because I deserve that fulfillment.
Next, be love. Giving love is effortless because it flows naturally from the true essence of my being. Give love and it will come back as love. It is so easy to share love with others. Why is it so difficult to love myself just as much?
The eighth step is to acknowledge when I accomplish something, no matter how small it is. Always tell myself “good job”. It is so easy to continue on with life after the smallest accomplishments because it does not compare to what others around you have accomplished in the past. We should not measure our own accomplishments against those of our peers, friends, or family members. If you choose not to share your accomplishment with anyone else, at the very least acknowledge it from within.
The next step is to embrace my uniqueness. We are each made differently for a reason. We are unique in our thoughts, talents, skills, and in the things we contribute to others and the universe. No one is better than anyone. We are made exactly how we are meant to be with the gifts we are meant to have.
The final and tenth step is to know and believe that here is good enough. “When you stop feeling you need to be doing something else or be somewhere else to be good enough, you will see that where you are right now is good enough.” I am exactly where I am meant to be. Believe that you are exactly where you are meant to be with all of your being. Believe it with all your heart. If you were meant to be anywhere else, doing anything differently, you would be.
Face it; there can never be too much love or appreciation in your life. Go ahead. Give yourself permission to love you completely.
Be aware of how you perceive yourself.
Do not allow any negative thoughts to seep in anymore.
Always look for the good in every moment, thought, and lesson learned.
Love yourself enough to take care of yourself first.
You deserve happiness. You deserve to be able to live a fulfilled and healthy life.
Stop that Italian Gramma/Nonna/Nanny syndrome from within… NO MORE GUILT!
Give love to yourself. You know you are capable of loving yourself. You give love to others. Why not give love to yourself as well?
Give yourself a pat on the back for all of your accomplishments.
We are all unique. Embrace it. As my sister would say, “let your freak flag fly.”
And finally, right here is where you are meant to be.
To begin this blog as if nothing has ever been miserable or felt completely wrong in the past would be a complete lie. Hold on tight while I share past words, photographs, and responses that have guided me to this day, this idea, and this currently loved notebook.
I recently submitted an assignment for yoga class.
Perhaps I should backtrack a little more than that though.
I am currently a student at the University of Memphis. When choosing classes for the Spring 2012 semester I wanted to take something different. I wanted to learn about something real and different, but never had the money, time, or guts to do.
To some registering for beginners yoga may not seem that different. The realness of it though, that is unquestionable.
As luck, or maybe fate, would have it, I chose the right teacher. Not only does she lead the class through the yoga practice, but she also has given us the foundations of yoga. She touched on the eight limbs of yoga, giving a base to the spiritual side of yoga.
My spirituality has been under construction over the course of the past 13 months. That is a story for another time though.
As part of earning a grade for yoga class, we were required to submit responses to a certain number of articles that related to yoga in some way. Maybe I was a little freethinking with the articles I chose at times, but each response was genuine and a step I needed to take.
Through those responses I found clarity. My teacher responded with positive comments that gave me that last push of confidence I needed in my writing abilities. The truly eye-opening comment was her suggestion of starting a blog.
As it turns out I have always wanted to write something like this, but never really believed I was good enough. I did not think I had anything to write anyone else would believe worth reading. That was when I was at my lowest point and highest weight though. Full of self-loathsome thoughts I had made myself believe I was not good enough for anyone or to do anything. I put limits on myself that no one else in my life would. I was my own negative Nancy. I have cast enough judgment upon myself to overshadow anything good or positive anyone could say to me.
I cannot reference the exact moment all of this changed in my head. All that matters is that my perception of myself has changed for the better. I believe adding yoga to my life was the final puzzle piece I needed to change how I see myself.
Had I not registered for yoga with the right teacher (for me) this blog would not exist.
Thankfully, I am exactly where I am meant to be.
Special thanks to Mrs. Perrigin for the final piece!