Updated: Aug 1, 2019
As I turned 27, I sat in my little apartment in South Korea and reflected on my life so far. I wondered what it would feel like to reach a certain age and not waste energy on worrying about small things like physical appearance or what the future holds and almost instantly I felt a beautiful sense of freedom and peace wash over me.
This got me thinking, what if we could become old in our minds and let the same struggles go? What if we could flip a switch and begin to see life through the eyes of someone who had nearly lost theirs? Would we still be worrying about all the things that we are now?
The answer unsurprisingly was no. Then I realised that we all can flip the switch and change our experience by changing the way we choose look at the situation. Instead of worry and fear we can choose to see through the lens of compassion and love, we can breathe consciously and watch it change our bodies chemistry. Once we shift our perception the effects are instantaneous. The beauty of this world and of the power of our minds is that everything that we want is seconds within reach and the only thing blocking us from accessing it is our own fears.
When we breathe like we love ourselves we are sending messages to our vital organs that can reverse the toxicity in our bodies caused by stress. Not only is there tons of scientific and medical research to support this, but our body innately knows this to be true. By breathing deeply and consciously we are tuning into our parasympathetic nervous system which is allowing our body to relax into it's natural state of repairing and healing.
Stress is unavoidable and it is not something that we should expect to disappear, but it is something that we can learn to manage. As I write this I am currently suffering from external stress factors in my own life. Moving to South Korea and working in their intense and unforgiving educational system has taken its toll on my physical and emotional health.
After only a week of falling behind on my practice, the emotional conflict of this system had already produced physical signs and symptoms of stress within my body. Tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, a craving for sweet and unhealthy foods, difficulty coping with emotions, headaches and a lower immunity. Without the ability to soften into my breath and use the practice to escape this, my overall experience of this beautiful place would be destroyed.
The practice of yoga gives us the space that we need to change our perceptions of stressful experiences. After taking time to rest, reflect and breathe I can see clearly that the lessons that I am learning whilst I am here are serving me greatly for the next periods of my life. The ability to breathe deeply in the classroom when I see that a child is crying because they are stressed, and the compassion and love that I can show them while I am here is the only thing that is possible for me in this moment. This perspective would simply not be available to me if I was not putting my self and my practice first.
It is our innate human nature to wake up after sleep refreshed, light, and energised. There is no reason that we should feel groggy, heavy, or exhausted. Despite popular belief we were not born to suffer through life - alertness, energy and peace are available to each and every one of us once we begin to understand the logistics and the science behind feeling good.
By setting our alarm a little bit earlier than usual and taking the time to nourish our mind, body, and soul through any form that feels good to us, we can begin to shift our perception and become more present in our lives. For some, this might look like a physical yoga practice and for others, it could simply be cooking breakfast, cleaning, or writing. Yoga is available through each and every breath that we take and it materialises in many different shapes and forms.
This week we will be talking about the deeper meaning of Yoga and how we can access the practice without stepping on a mat, through kindness, self-study, and dance.
See you there,