At first I didn’t know that I was doing it—cleaning my house while practicing yoga.
It occurred to me when I was doing some deep cleaning around the house, I realize how this has become an act of metaphoric cleaning an equally important space that is resided deeply within me—stepping off from the soap boxes of my external world, shutting off the flutters of daily grinds, and simply practicing awareness.
It was my yoga practice that day. Yes, I was taking my practice off the mat.
I scrubbed the floor, cleaned the sink, vacuumed the rooms and planted my little herb garden. Beads of sweat off the corner of my face, my body opened and stretched, I felt cleaner, more spacious, lighter in my whole being afterward.
Then, I noticed signs of change in the air. The warmer breeze, lushy greens, bluer sky, waking up to baby birds outside the window chirping louder each morning, I sensed a different type of renewal in me along with warmer season coming.
I’m gradually becoming more at ease in physical spaces all around me, yet feeling comfortable with holding my own place in them—no matter where I am or where I go. My interpretations and my lenses through which I see the world are now guided by awareness, instead of fight-or-flight filled perturbation.
It started when my yoga practice began to change, by showing up.
What I mean by showing up isn’t just physically showing up at the front door of the yoga studio; it is more about showing up with everything I was—bits and pieces of my fragmented mind and broken body—honestly and sincerely. It was showing up by tuning in with my mind and body together at that very moment.
From here, this is when gentle shifts from thought patterns into the tiniest detail of actions happen.
As on the mat and in the real world, the willingness and openness to change was the first step. I stopped locking myself up in deep scrutiny and doubts, decided to ally with courage of finding my truths and the acceptance of possibly failing. It was hard at first. Through trials and errors, I become more comfortable being spontaneous with change of plans.
I no longer retreat to thoughts or ideas of what “I was used to” or “always have done”.
Sometimes changes in routines and facing the unknown are good opportunities to turn inward—just to stay present. By recognizing such presence at that moment and combining with mindful actions, I come to truer to myself.
Nonetheless, I still feel some anxiety surfacing up and become uncomfortable from time-to-time. My triggers of emotions and thoughts are still there. I’m not going to fight against them. But I am slowing them down and being more gentle with my reactions.
This mental shift takes time and practice, and I’ve been making subtle yet tangible progress—by moving with intention, breathing deeply, and taking time to understand what I love doing—not what I “should” or “must” do.
I’m learning how to recalibrate my thoughts and ensuring they are align with my beliefs and actions.
More than ever, I value how I spend my time—from moment to moment. I understand what my priorities are, and stay in the present moment. Like when I’m cleaning my house, I stop worrying about doing other things later, not rushing to get things accomplished or justify actions with a means to an end.
I’m reading words that help me shape my own view and ask intelligent questions for myself.
As I often like to draw inspirations from different people and words, I used to get lost in them. Now, I start to ask myself questions such as “How does this relate to what I know or believe to be true? How can I relate to this person’s point or the voice behind these words?” I used to be an active blog reader, but now I’m not following as many blogs or reading them much—I focus on seeking supported facts and truths of my own.
I’m listening to people who offer to lift me up and point light toward finding my own path. However, I understand that I will not always hear what I like or like what I hear. And I’m okay with that.
I had been frustrated and even upset with myself in the recent past that I couldn’t be like some other people. Yes, that “self-comparison” seemed like a motivational trigger for self-improvement—but I realize that once I lose touch with my authentic self, it becomes a trap.
I’m being a leader of my own tribe, even if there is no one else following me. And I’m okay with that.
Then one day in class, I was given this gentle reminder by one of my respected yoga teachers:
Think of the sunshine behind the cloud. Even though the thick clouds are blocking the sun today, it doesn’t mean that the sun won’t ever shine again later.
But first, I have to show up. Know what I want to know. Do what I want to do. Keep practicing. Keep that fire burning and fuel it with knowledge and action. Be gentle with myself in the process. Don’t be afraid to be silly or to fail.
Yoga asks us to show up for ourselves. It’s a constant practice of learning about our selves—on and off the mat. In between the flux and flows of the so-called life, the more I practice, the easier I find it is to trust my intuition.
Why is it important to learn trusting my intuition?
It is my backbone to support the call for action when life throws me curveballs; it is my center of gravity when I lose my balance or have doubtful thoughts.
Especially when the clouds are overcasting the sun, trusting my intuition will help guide me to find my own light.
Josie Huang is an evolving yogini and yoga teacher. Outside of yoga, she is a curious foodie; a knowledge-thirsty Registered Dietitian to-be; a health and fitness enthusiast who loves creating, eating, sharing clean and delicious foods. She is a fledgling following her life long passions for health, yoga, food and nutrition altogether. As she is exploring different loves in her life, she remains dedicated to staying open to all phases of her journey. You can find her via her website.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise