FIVE ‘easy-to-implement’ actions you can do right away.
What happens when you really want or expect something and (for whatever reason) it doesn’t happen? Maybe you had a situation like that recently? Let’s see if you can relate.
OK, maybe you nailed a presentation at work and expected your boss to notice, uh oh. They didn’t. You wanted your nearest and dearest to tell you how great you look, but the hair cut you got was, quite frankly, wasted on them. You expected your friend to know that you’re up to your eyeballs with work and need dragging out for coffee, but the knock on the door or text never lands.
How does any of that feel? Icky, uncomfortable, emotional? All three?
Us humans are not that complicated really. According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, we have four basic needs (beyond of course those that keep us alive – shelter, food, warmth, water, etc).
Want to know what they are? Of course.
Let’s put them out there now. They are:
And get this. When any of these four needs are not met, we experience STRESS. Oh dear! Stress, in some situations, is necessary. Some of us may even say we thrive on stress.
Let’s consider that point. Yes, stress – or the fight and flight response – can get us out of a threating or perceived threating situation and it can motivate us into action. But the bad news is, if we spend too much time in this response system, stress accumulates in the body and translates into inflammation, which is now known as one of the root causes of most, if not all disease. Which is really, really NOT what we want, agreed?
So, if its wellbeing you’re after, your job is to get your needs met and minimise stress. OK? With me so far.
Ok, great. But, hold up. Not so fast. If your needs are not getting met from external sources. If the people around you and external situations are letting you down all the time, what then.
Easy. We simply don’t rely on those sources for our happiness. It’s an inside job that’s required here.
Which is where the beautiful tools of yoga and meditation come to serve you as your faithful friends.
FIVE PRACTICAL TIPS
I’ve got FIVE practical ways to help you instantly meet your needs and derail stress from the safety and comfort of your yoga mat (or meditation pillow). This works for both.
Let’s take it away.
Action 1. Be more aware.
In your yoga class, or meditation practice this starts the moment you’re invited to set down your mat, take a moment to arrive, close your eyes and go inwards. It’s also in every breath you take. Get used to observing and checking in with the breath. Notice the quality, the speed, the depth, the length, the sound of your breath. It’s from this space you get to find stillness. You get to step out of the crazy and ask questions like, what do I need right now, what does my body need? It’s powerfully effective, don’t skip it.
Action 2. Accept
When you arrive on your mat consider this. No matter what life has thrown at you up to this point, you’ve had a choice in it all. Even if you didn’t get to choose what happened, you had a choice of how to respond. When you can accept that it’s your choices that got you here, this is where you’re at, and your choices that will decide what’s next you can go on to start making better choices that will meet your needs.
None of us can change what’s done, and we can’t fast forward to where we want to be, all there is to play with is what’s showing up now and choose our response.
Action 3. Give your SELF some attention.
If you’ve made it to your mat at all, that’s a big deal in itself, so don’t waste the time you’ve carved out for you on thinking about your never-ending to do list, which by the way never gets done, am I right? And please don’t fritter this valuable commodity of mat time on ruminating on an argument, or conversation or situation that has passed. The past is history, the future is a mystery, now is the gift so open it, enjoy it and make the most. This is your time to meet your needs.
Action 4. Love Your SELF.
Don’t lose me in the hippy sentiment of this. I know, most of us are not so good at this. At least that is my experience, especially if you’re British. But I encourage you to get over that because it’s a game changer.
For crying out loud we have got to stop all the negative, hurtful self-talk we’re dishing out and be kinder to the one that’s on the receiving end – Our SELVES.
Some of the stuff we say in the privacy of our head is downright damaging, am I right? We just wouldn’t say it out loud. Try it, if you dare. Than imagine if someone else said that to you. Would you want to hang around that person?
Sometimes I think about what would happen if I walked round telling my students the stuff they might be telling themselves as they practice. Stuff like, man, you’ve let yourself go, wow so inflexible, this yoga shit really isn’t for you, you’ll never be good at it.
Crikes… you get my point?
Action 5: Look after your SELF.
As kids, we’re taught that it’s way better to give than receive right? And yes, giving is great. But take that idea and imagine the life of someone who just gives and gives and then rejects all offers of anything back in return. So, they give love, but don’t receive it, they give attention, but don’t accept it in return, they give others food, but don’t feed themselves, they breath out, but don’t breathe in… see where this goes? Depletion, emptiness, nothing left to give.
It’s time to take care of your SELF as if you’re life depends on it, because if you think about, it. It does. You, my friend are in charge of you. You are the CEO of you and your doctor is in you.
You are in fact are THE ONLY ONE you can TOTALLY rely on to meet your needs. No one cares more about you than you, no one knows what you want or need better than you. That’s just the way it goes.
So, get to it.
How are you going to start meeting your own needs? Write down how you can give yourself attention, affection, appreciation and acceptance both in your life and during your yoga practice.
Feel free to share your answers, and report back on how this is changing the way you move through life and practice your asana.
Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family, and if you have any comments or questions, please pop them in the box below and I promise to reply.
Ohh and you can make a date with me and your yoga mat right here…