I’m having a great week :) Feeling kinda blue last week was a bit of a wake-up call for me, and helped me realize I wasn’t taking care of myself the way I want to. And as Elizabeth Gilbert says, “I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit.” Well said, Liz. Well said.
So I committed to making some changes - slowly, of course, because nothing sticks if you jump in too quickly. Mostly I’m focusing on sleeping better, but also getting back to the practices that I know keep me grounded: journaling and meditation. I’m slowing down to eat meals, and making sure I eat meals in general. I mean, nobody ever said that taking care of yourself was super easy. But I’ll tell you some little tweaks can make a huge difference.
Today was running super smooth; I had a full day of meetings, running into friends, a client in Manhattan, and some errands/me time. When I got home, I pumped up my bike tires and set off to teach my first class of the evening. I had kinda a bad feeling, as I recently got a flat tire just after pumping them up, and I was right - just a few blocks from my house my back tire was completely flat. I was already tight on time, so I had to lock my bike up where I was and call an Uber. I got in the car annoyed, mostly at myself, because I knew I had messed something up when I pumped up my tire (again). And, because I hadn’t left myself more time, so now I was really in a rush. And, I’d have to hurry to my second class, and do a lot of walking around later in the evening, and… But then I noticed my reaction, took a big breath, and let it go. Everything was fine. Like, what could I do? And what use is sitting there fuming about it?
When I got to my second class of the evening I told them this story, because it relates so much to the practice we were diving into: Yin yoga. If you’re not familiar with yin, read more here. It’s one of my favorite practices and one I think most of us don’t do enough of. To me, one of the biggest themes in yin yoga is Svadyaya, which is not only fun to say, but translates to “self study.” We practice so we can bring awareness to ourselves in moments of challenge or discomfort - when plans go awry, when we’re startled, when we get in a disagreement, or when something bigger and even more upsetting happens in our world, e.g. a lot of things that have been happening lately - how do we react?
If you make a mistake, do you start bullying yourself? If someone disagrees with you, do you not want to hear them? If plans need to change, do you lose your shit? If a relationship gets tough, do you take off? I’ve talked before about how yin yoga brings us to our fight or flight response, and how whatever we do on the mat is what we’ll do off the mat. So the more we can practice staying and breathing and allowing ourselves to just feel what comes up, the more we’ll be able to react with intention, and, ultimately, behave like the person we really want to be.
The thing about Svadyaya is that you don’t need to practice yoga physically to try it - just start by bringing more attention to yourself throughout the day. How do you react to different conversations, to changes in plans? How do you speak to yourself in your head, and how do you carry yourself in different settings? Simply observing yourself without judgement or criticism; watching like you’re getting to know someone for the first time.
All change starts with awareness; how well do you really know yourself?