When people hear the word yoga they immediately picture a calm person sitting down meditating with their legs behind their head (slightly exaggerated and stereotyped). A view like this can easily put people off yoga before they have even tried it.
Mainly because most people can’t comfortably put their legs behind their heads, but also because we live in a world where being still and calm is viewed as a bit lazy, and we don’t feel comfortable doing “nothing”. We rank our days and whole life on how much and what we get done. We want to be fun and full of life, not boring people who spends their days alone, meditating.
Working hard, having an amazing family, clean house, great social life and going to the gym 5 days a week is somehow the ideal life that we all strive for. And eventually after trying for years, we end up stressed and overworked.
By then we are so tired and “out of life” that we find it hard to focus, relax, and we usually enter a negative spiral where we are tired all the time but too stressed to sleep and/or relax.
Allow yourself rest
The first step is to allow yourself to relax, let go of the shopping lists, meetings, angry drivers, pushy bosses and screaming children. Even if it’s just a couple of minutes, give yourself some time to just listen to your body, moving through yoga poses, sitting completely still or whatever your body needs.
Teaching yourself how to relax is probably the best way to fall asleep earlier at night and to improve your sleep in general. Going to bed with your brain fully switched on makes it hard for your body to realize that this is the time to rest.
Even though giving yourself some down time to read a book or something else relaxing (preferably not watching TV) might seem counterproductive to someone who wants to fit as many experiences into their day as possible, knowing how to not do anything is an important part of successfully living a busy life.
How to find balance
I often get asked what I prefer, yoga or paragliding and I can never answer, they are both equally important pieces in the puzzle that is me. The adventure in paragliding spills out into the rest of my life and into my yoga, making me explore poses, aspects and mainly the way my body moves more than I probably would have done otherwise.
The stillness of yoga does in same way affect the other aspects of my life, including paragliding, making me able to live the moments in the air to the fullest. Which helps me make better decisions, focus, enjoy myself even more and keeps me from getting injured.
To find balance we need to look for the adventure in being still and the stillness in our adventures.
When you find yourself being stressed, try to stop for a second, if you’ve got a couple of minutes close your eyes and let everything go, don’t repeat what is stressing you out in your head during these minutes, just focus on your breath, sensations through your body, or the sounds around you.
This will allow you to reset your focus, lower your blood pressure, decrease anxiety and emotional eating, improve your energy levels and immune system which in the long run will also keep you from getting stressed in the future.
If you haven’t got a few minutes, just a few full deep breaths, letting your eyes rest on something neutral, like a wall, will lower the stress hormones in your body momentarily, allowing you to come back the situation with a new attitude just seconds later.
By squeezing in some time to reflect and listen to your body you will have more energy to clean your house, hang out with friends or whatever you want to do. It will improve most other aspects of your active life as well, due to getting to know your body firstly keeps it from getting injured. But also, the more you can explore your muscles and your full range of motion the more effectively you can use your body to what you want.