Some of my favorite moments in Elena Brower’s yoga classes are when she reminds us, “We are so lucky to have this practice.”
It’s so true. I’d be royally screwed without yoga. And I probably wouldn’t have any friends because I’d blame everyone BUT myself for my own shit.
Yoga shows us, so consistently, where we’re giving our power away, where we still have edges to explore, fears to face, egoic tendencies to transform, limitations to let go of. It also shows us how much more beautiful we are when we soften, how important our boundaries are, and how strong we can be when we choose to believe in ourselves.
It really is the microcosm to the macrocosm of life.
For me anyway, everything I love and resist about my performance and my experience on the mat is EXACTLY, to a tee, what I love and resist about my performance and experience in life and business. Basically because how we do anything is how we do everything.
If you’re like me and you live to love, and love to learn – especially about yourself so that you can shine as brightly as possible and carry as many people as possible back to love – you’re well aware of the crucial need for yoga (or a similar practice of sacred self-study and self-care) in your life.
It’s this love for yoga, and the self-realization and healing that yoga offers, that propels me forward with the work I do. I want to help as many people as possible to gain regular access to these benefits… so I support the teachers and the leaders in the conscious living arena to do this work that they love, only on a bigger scale… and in a more lucrative, easeful, and sustainable way.
I dedicate this post to YOU, the teachers and the leaders.
The ones breaking down all the barriers to love, starting with the ones you yourself created.
May this inspire you to take EVEN MORE precious care of yourself so that you have the fuel to keep spreading your love magic, revealing your deepest heart, and sharing the fullness of your natural talents with those who need them most. May these words also be a reminder that you don’t have to be perfect to take the seat of the teacher, mentor, or coach – you just have to trust yourself and your life… and be willing to go for it! Therein lies the confidence that will take you where you need to go.
Before you continue, I want to send a second shout out to Kathryn Budig and again to Elena, for the inspiration I received via their yoga classes. Kathryn’s was actually an arm balance and inversions workshop I attended about facing your fears, and Elena’s was a YogaGlo class entitled Samadhi.
Both were incredibly nourishing and offered many insights that I, in turn, am sharing here, through my own experience.
In Lifestyle Design Coaching™, what we do here at Abundant Yogi, we spend a lot of time helping our clients to ‘take precious care of themselves.’
I truly believe there is nothing of greater importance.
If our ‘love tanks’ are running on empty… if we’re crazy sleep deprived… if we’re burnt out or overwhelmed… if we’re always playing ‘catch up’… if we’re bending over backwards for everyone BUT ourselves… if we’re not feeling grateful… if we’re out of touch with our true heart’s desires and just kinda ‘going through the motions’… if we’re spending WAY too many hours in front of the computer… if our body is aching because we keep making our work or our to do list a higher priority than our yoga practice or self-care… we have nothing to offer the world.
No energy. No creativity. No sex drive. No clarity. No access to the REAL self.
We’re like one big walking case of LACK.
Without even meaning to, we suck other people’s energy. Yuck.
But if we ARE tending to our own heart, to our creative impulses, and to the utmost health of our body and mind, we WILL have something to offer. Our very presence will be nourishing to everyone around us. More people will want to be around us too, which means more friends, more joy, and more potential clients and opportunities. So clearly, self-care is the name of the game for a healthy, abundant personal life and business.
But what does taking ‘precious care of yourself’ really MEAN… and what does it entail?
That is the question I want to answer for you here.
If you guessed:
- regular yoga (and/or other nurturing/opening/strengthening/self-reflective practices),
- plenty of sleep,
- a delicious, healthy diet,
- lots of clean water,
- fresh air,
- play time, etc.
…then you guessed right. Kind of.
All these physical things that you CAN control play a significant role in taking precious care of yourself. And the more consistently you tend to them, the less susceptible you will be to getting thrown off your center during challenging times and big decisions.
But what about the things in life you CAN’T necessarily control? Don’t they affect how you feel in your mind and body even more so than what you CAN control?
Absolutely, positively, definitely, HELL YES they do.
In fact, managing all of the above is worth next to nothing if you don’t understand and embody the deeper meaning and purpose behind ‘precious self-care’ – and THAT has to do with strengthening your ability to choose, time and time again, that which will be a life-enhancing use of your attention… over that which will not.
To be clear, ‘precious self-care’, by my definition, is mostly concerned with the perspective you choose to hold from moment to moment – in particular, whether that ‘way of seeing and receiving reality’ is life-enhancing… or NOT.
The ‘Life-Enhancing’ Test
If your current perception is life-enhancing, you’ll know it because of one thing; no matter what, you’ll trust yourself, and exactly the way your life is unfolding. If, on the other hand, your current perception is life-draining, you’ll know it because you WON’T trust yourself or your life… and you’ll expend a great deal of unnecessary energy because of it.
If you’re truly committed to taking precious care of yourself – we’re talking beyond just bubble baths and pedicures here – you’ll behave as though your energy is too precious for all that wasting… and you just won’t do it.
Case in point: Right now, take your attention to whatever it is you’re grappling with in your life or business – whatever turmoil or turbulence stands before you; be it a decision you’re dreading to make, a terrifying transition that lies ahead, a relationship you know you need to let go of, a conversation you’re scared to death to approach but you just can’t avoid if you’re going to be true to yourself.
The most life-DRAINING thing you could do right now would be to continue:
- avoiding it,
- resisting it,
- pushing against it,
- wishing it weren’t here, or
- entertaining all the reality-defying reasons why ‘it’s not supposed to go this way’.
It’s all BS!
It IS supposed to go this way.
How can we know? Because it’s going this way. That’s the reality of it.
And as Byron Katie says, “When we argue with reality, we lose – but only 100% of the time.”
The longer we indulge the waste-of-energy stinkin’ thinkin’ that says it’s not supposed to be this way, the more we physically and emotionally drain the life right out of us. Because, as Shya and Ariel Kane put it in their book, Working On Yourself Doesn’t Work, “Whatever you resist persists… and grows stronger.”
But the cool thing is (and what the Kanes go on to explain), is that “Whatever you allow to be exactly as it is – completes itself.”
As in resolved. Settled. Okay.
That sounds a whole lot more life-enhancing than DRAINED, don’t you think?
So what if... just as an experiment in energy conservation and in extreme self- and life-trust (and hence as a way of strengthening your muscles for ‘precious self-care’)… what if you decided to wholeheartedly assume that whatever it is that needs to happen during this turmoil or transition… is exactly what you most NEED… like deep down need… like SOUL-LEVEL need?
And what if, instead of believing your mind chatter and all of its fear-based stress-inducing stories, you decided to dance with this whole scary experience by tuning and tweaking your perception of it so that you see it and welcome it… as MEDICINE?
What would that do for you?
Now let’s apply this experiment to yoga:
Imagine you’re in yoga pose that just SUCKS the moment you’re doing it… it really HURTS and you’re all awkward and clumsy in it.
What if you disengaged from the desire to come out of the pose and any disempowering mental commentary that might be swirling through your head, and instead, you OFFERED the shape – the pose itself – TO your body… as MEDICINE?
Can you see how, as unsettled and unsettling as the pose may be, through this conscious shift in perception – through offering the pose as medicine to your body, and receiving it as such – you might begin to access, deep down, a quality of ‘settled intelligence’?
That’s the trust. That little inkling of ‘Somehow I know this is healing, so I choose to open to what it has to offer me.’
Lean into that trust.
Find it, milk it… and STAY. Exercise that muscle that accepts what is as medicine, perfectly formulated for your highest well-being.
Ground yourself into the space of settled intelligence. That doesn’t mean you’re pretending that you know everything and you have all the answers. And it doesn’t mean you have to put on a happy face when you’re not really feeling happy. But it does mean that you trust that you’re enough, that you’re right where you need to be, and that if you need guidance, you can ask for it and you’ll receive it.
As you locate and ‘hang out with’ whatever trust you can find in your body, imagine how it would feel to have experienced total success in the execution of this transition. Feel how it would feel to experience a complete resolution of said turmoil. See from behind the eyes of someone who has already evolved as a result of the challenge. Act in the way he/she would act. Trust that you are being guided, because you are.
On or off the yoga mat, the more you trust yourself and exactly the way your life is unfolding (even down to the yoga poses you’re called to do on any given day), the more you open yourself to receive the medicine that the turmoil, transitions, and challenging moments have to offer you. And as trusting yourself and each moment of your life becomes your default, your ‘love tank’ will remain full and you’ll have the fuel you need to operate on all cylinders (you’ll have plugged that pesky energy leak that used to waste all your precious energy on life-draining perceptions of the things you couldn’t even CHANGE).
Couple that full love tank with consistent tending to the physical things you CAN change (rest, diet, exercise, and other forms of nourishment) and you’ll be a total PRO in the ‘precious self-care’ arena.
From what I’ve seen with my clients and in my own life, when you’re operating at that level of FULLNESS with that caliber of clarity, your highest intentions become manifest a lot faster and with a lot more ease.
So go for it. Take precious care of yourself physically AND emotionally. Make it your number one priority. Then watch from there how the confidence comes… and lingers. Watch how you’ll start rocking handstand, crazy cool arm balances, and super fun ‘flying’ transitions. Watch how you’ll feel sexier in your own skin and you’ll speak your truth with a new found freedom. Watch how you’ll feel like a stronger leader and people will start to flock to you for your leadership because of it.
It’s pretty amazing what a little ‘precious self-care’ can do. It’s nurturing for you, yes, but remember, everyone who comes into contact with you will reap the benefits too. Gotta love a good win-win.
If you found this helpful or you have something to share, I’d love to hear about it.
P.S. A fitting quote from Kathryn’s ‘Face Your Fears’ Arm Balance and Inversions Workshop:
“We are so privileged to have this practice. The opportunity to show up, be truly yourself, and attempt to fly – it is the gift of a lifetime.”
– Kathryn Budig