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In the yoga realm, there is a concept called “sthira sukha.”
It is the balance between effort and ease, or steadiness and comfort, that we strive for in our asana practice. It’s also one of the great lessons to take off the mat and into everyday life.
Following the principle of ease, ask yourself:
“Can I find acceptance with my life as it is right now?”
Our lives are a culmination of every choice and decision we have made up until this point. When we are constantly resisting against the choices that have brought us to the present moment and piling on the negative self-talk and criticism, the only place we travel to is Stuckville.
In this moment, can you close your eyes (yes, nearly every trip to the woo-woo begins with closing the eyes) and be present with the resistance? Even if it’s only for five breaths. Or three. Or even just one, bringing the resistance in and fully embracing it on the inhale and letting it rush completely out of you on the exhale.
Just allow yourself to be still without the resistance in that moment, releasing all self-judgment and expectations.
Now ask yourself, placing your hands over your heart and closing your eyes again:
“In this moment, do I have everything I need?”
Are your basic human needs met? Do you have food to eat, clean water to drink, and shelter from the elements? Until our basic survival needs are met, the ancient part of our brains will not be satisfied and able to enter the mental headspace required to contemplate a different reality.
If those needs are met, acknowledge that and sit for another five breaths (or three or even just one), repeating silently to yourself, “I already have everything I need.”
With your eyes closed and hands over your heart, bring that feeling of fullness and sufficiency into your body. You are not lacking in any way and are already whole and complete as you are.
That being said, now we ask ourselves the question that brings forth steadiness and effort, balancing contentment and expansion. Why? Because as human beings, we have a higher-order need for contribution and growth.
When all of our lower-order needs are met, we start to build that resistance, and feelings of frustration or stagnation can stealthily creep in.
This can also manifest as anger, irritation, resentment, anxiety, or depression. We don’t know why we feel the way we feel, especially given that all of our basic needs are met and we have so much to be grateful for.
So again, with the eyes closed and hands over the heart, visualize yourself a year from now exactly as you are right now. You’re in the same body, with the same level of health, living in the same location, going to the same job, and at the same place in your relationships. Ask yourself:
“Do I feel any twinges of discomfort or have any regrets that one or more things haven’t changed? In what areas of my life do I feel the discomfort?”
Really try to tune into your intuition on this.
We all have that still, small voice inside that nudges and whispers. When we are able to tune in and listen to the whispers, we are less likely to get knocked down by the volcano of erupting anger, the tidal wave of grief, the freefall of anxiety, or to get licked by the slow-burning flames of resentment.
If you are 100 percent content with the path you’re on and the choices you’re making toward growth, that is fantastic. If, however, you felt any twinges of discomfort at the idea of staying the same and don’t want to be on your deathbed asking, “What if…?” do something today that scares you just a little bit, something out of your comfort zone.
You don’t have to be Lloyd Dobler in “Say Anything,” holding up a boombox blasting “In Your Eyes” to the love of your life. You don’t have to give yourself a complete makeover (physically, spiritually, or emotionally). You don’t even have to give your living space the complete Marie Kondo makeover.
But you do have to start somewhere small. Today. Like, right now.
Get that teensy little adrenaline rush that makes you think it is possible to create a change. Write down what you did.
Then do it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that. Before you know it, a year will have passed and you can look back at those tiny moments of fear and see how far you’ve come. Because you will go far.