8 Yogic Tips for Weathering the Rough Times
The Last Straw
We often hear yoga teachers encouraging us to release worry and fear with each exhale, and to stay present in the moment. After all, most of the things we worry about never actually come true. No sense in worrying because it won’t change the outcome anyway, right?
What about when the bad stuff really does happen? Really scary stuff like you unexpectedly lose your job. On the same day the mechanic tells you that your car needs $750 worth of repairs. Then one of your children gets sick. What’s more, just before you crawl into bed for the night the washing machine starts making horrible noises and floods the laundry room.
Yes, that kind of stuff. Go on, try it. Stay present in the moment, and release fear with each exhale. Easier said than done.
I couldn’t do it as I stood in my laundry room that night. In fact, I wanted to scream, cry and pound my fists into that stupid washing machine. I just couldn’t take one more thing going wrong!
Even the Best Yogis Have Bad Days
Even the best of yogis have bad days and go through difficult times. But the yogic teachings are useful even in the worst of times. Most of what happens in life is going to happen no matter how hard we try to control it. The only thing we can truly control is our attitude towards the situation
8 Yogic Tips for Troubled Times
Here are eight practical tips based on yoga principles to help you get through the rough times.
Go ahead and cry. Scream if you want to. Your body can only hold on to so much before it’s going to explode. Let it happen. Afterward, the adrenalin rush from this cathartic release will probably leave you feeling depleted and exhausted. Climb into bed, pull up the covers and get some sleep. No good decision is ever made when you are overtired.
Get out of bed the next day! Now is not the time to wallow behind drawn curtains. You may not feel ready for action, but try to get up, get showered and dressed. If possible get outside in the sun. Lack of Vitamin D leads to depression so let the sun act as a natural mood lifter. Self-care is vital during stressful times.
Get moving. Negative energy can get stuck in our bodies without physical movement. When all of the above happened to me, yes on the same day, I wasn’t yet ready for a quiet peaceful meditative yoga session. I had a lot of negative energy I needed to get out before it consumed me.
For me, the best remedy is a sweaty gym session that leaves me out of breath and exhausted. The sound of my feet pounding on the treadmill and the feel of my muscles lifting weights was the meditation I needed at first. Maybe for you, it’s going for a run or a power yoga class. Whatever it is, get rid of the negative swirling inside you to clear the way for positive action.
Rally your troops. Reach out and let people know what is going on. No one can help if they don’t know you are in need. Scroll through your contacts and send a message to all the influential people you know. Now is not the time to go into your sob story.
Keep it short but to the point. “Hey, I’m suddenly available for a new career opportunity,” or “Does anyone know how to replace front struts on my car in exchange for a home-cooked meal with fresh-baked dessert?” With just a text message I had a friend at my house the next morning to fix my washing machine and another friend over looking at my car.
Get the support of your friends, clients, and acquaintances. Think outside the box. I’m learning that most job opportunities come from word of mouth rather than traditional online job boards. Whatever your specific situation is, there is someone out there that has either already been there themselves and can offer you suggestions or who knows someone who can point you in the right direction. Satsang is the Sanskrit word for community. Your Satsang will be more important than ever now.
Remember, some people are genuinely concerned for you. Others just want to hear a good story. Be choosy in who you share all the details with. In other words, save the drama for your momma. When people see you being productive and taking action, they are more likely to want to help you.
Get quiet. If you haven’t already, now is the time to get back on your mat and be still. Don’t try to force either poses or answers. Your body will instinctively move as it needs to. The answers will come to you only when you are ready to hear them.
Depending on your specific situation, you might be holding onto some hurt, anger or bitterness. Practice heart openers like camel pose or wheel if that asana is in your practice. Stay in tune with your intuition and inner strength by keeping your third chakra open with twists, binds, and other poses that engage your core.
Keep your drishti (focal point)! Stay focused on forward and upward. As time goes on and the answers don’t come as quickly as you would like it’s going to be easy to get down and frustrated.
Just like in a yoga pose, observe where your energy goes your attention goes. If you are looking down in a standing balance pose you are most likely going to fall out of the pose. If you put your energy into playing the “it’s not fair” game or keep telling yourself “it’s just not going to work out for me,” well then you will probably prove yourself right. Stay positive and stay focused.
Be open to unexpected possibilities. What you are looking for might not be what the universe has in store for you. Whether it’s a career opportunity you never considered or a move across the county, be open to exploring new and different paths. Don’t let your fear keep you from conquering the unknown.
Jennifer Williams-Fields E-RYT, is passionate about writing, yoga, traveling, public speaking and being a fabulous single momma to six super kids. Doing it all at one time, however, is her great struggle. She has been teaching yoga since 2005 and writing since she first picked up a crayon. Although her life is a sort of organized chaos, she loves every minute of the craziness and is grateful for all she’s learned along the way. She is the author of “Creating a Joyful Life: The Lessons I Learned from Yoga and My Mom” now available on Amazon. She co-wrote “Transform Your Life From F’d up To Fabulous” and is featured in other yoga collaboratives. She also is a regular writer for Elephant Journal Magazine, YourTango and YogaUOnline. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @yogalifeway, Instagram @JNELF6 and read her blog.