Good morning! How is your week going so far? This one has been flying by for me – it doesn’t feel like it’s possible that it’s already Wednesday.
As I have discussed quite a bit on this blog, I have gotten much more into yoga lately than I ever have before. I started doing it here and there throughout high school and college, but never consistently stuck to it. I know people have differing opinions on the various types of yoga that are practiced today, but I gravitate towards two completely different styles – a slow flow class that really makes me think and a fast, hot vinyasa class that allows me to get entirely out of my head. Once in a while I also love a yin class where I can just relax, let go, and settle in to the postures.
I go to a studio right inside my gym and will really only go to one teacher’s class. He is great. I really don’t know how to summarize it any other way. Although yoga is an internal practice, I think the teacher has a huge part to do with it, too (at least for me), so I feel very lucky that I found one I connect with so quickly.
Almost every class I take from him, I leave thinking about something he said during that hour. He typically focuses on a different topic each week, so I hear something similar during each of the three or so classes I usually take in a week. A few of those things have really stuck with me over the last few weeks, so I thought I would share them with you today:
“Intuition is feeling more and thinking less. You can’t control what you think, but you can always control how you react.”
This is a tricky one to understand for someone like me who has an innate need to control everything and everybody. However, it does bring about a certain sense of peace when the realization comes that there is something I can always have complete control over – my reactions. It is so easy to lose sight of intuition and just let thoughts run rampant throughout your mind. Most days before I know it I am sitting at my desk, working, and not even thinking one bit about the task at hand. Instead I am daydreaming about when I should start prepping dinner, if I have to go out of the house/how long it will take me to get ready, how mad I am at myself for not working out that morning, and a bunch of other little, unnecessary things.
I think the lesson to be learned here is not that I can control my reactions, but that my thoughts do not have control over me. Every moment of every day we are choosing to either be intuitive or to be reactive. When intuition is more prominent, it is much simpler to react based on feeling, rather than on thought. When reactiveness is always within reach, life is likely to be much more chaotic and more time will be spent apologizing, worrying, and wondering how a situation could have been handled differently.
“People with anxiety just have really active imaginations, and your imagination is almost always worse than reality.”
I don’t even know where to start with this one. When my yoga teacher said this in class the other night, I was almost in tears. I needed to hear this then, and I still need to hear it every day now. Perhaps I should get a tattoo? Probably not, but it’s an interesting thought. Since I have struggled with anxiety in the past and know just how crippling and life-halting it can be, I am always looking for ways to remind myself that my anxiety is oftentimes really far removed from reality. What I can dream up in my head goes above and beyond what is happening in real life.
My examples of where I have allowed this to happen in my own life are innumerable. I remember a time in my early 20’s when I just knew it was time for something in my life to end, but I selfishly didn’t want it to. I stressed over this for months, not eating and physically making myself sick. I remember driving home in silence one night and having an odd sense of peace wash over me, because I knew that all the wondering was about to end. I was going to have my answer, even if it wasn’t the one I wanted. And sure enough, that thing ended that very day, but you know what? The next day was wonderful. I did things for myself, I spent time with my mom, and I finally had my appetite back. My imagination had built up the end of it to be the end of my life (I was a little dramatic), but in reality it was long overdue. Slowly but surely, things began to get better, and that remains true in different circumstances today. Whenever I find myself imagining an answer to something I’ve been wondering about, I just go ask for the answer and save myself the time, energy, and heartache.
“You’re always just one breath away from starting over.”
Not much needs to be said here, except that sometimes stopping to take a breath is all that is needed to change the trajectory of your life.
I have really been working to try to remember these three things throughout my normal life, not just during class. I totally count it as progress in the right direction that I even try to think this way without reacting right away to something that is frustrating me. It’s tough though to change a mindset that you have had for your entire life. However, I can already see how beneficial it is to have the peace of mind to pause and breathe before reacting.
Have a great day – I hope these quotes resonate with you, too! Let me know your thoughts on them if you agree/disagree with what he said. 🙂