I’ve been really skilled at ignoring myself for a very long time. I know what could be good for me and I definitely know what hurts me or hinders me yet here I am pressing the repeat button each and everyday.
I do work that I dislike, I sleep in even when it makes me late, I eat the food that gives me grief, or too much of it, or not enough of it. I don’t drink enough water, I don’t watch my tongue when I should, I watch shows that disrupt my sleep and I scroll through social media in the morning.
I think to myself in each moment of weakness…..it’s not a big deal, just do what you want. It’s normal to be tired, to be stressed, or to have digestive issues. It’s normal to gossip, or not feel like exercising or to buy a lot of clothes I don’t need. Everyone else is.
In the moment, it might feel good to eat the extra cookie, or rage, or tell the story that you shouldn’t. It might feel cathartic to vent to a friend about another, to have some wine so you forget your day or to neglect your yoga practice because you’re tired.
Your day is long and life is tough so why put more rules on yourself right? Why not make things easy on yourself?
I had to turn this thought around and ask instead…
“Just how good can I feel?”
What if I wasn’t stressed or angry? What if I was tolerant, and resilient in every moment? What if I felt light and pain free? What if I slept well, ate well, and felt elevated instead of depressed. What if there was no more burn-out, no more pushing through my day, no more toxic relationships to people, events or things?
The Niyamas, or observances are a radical exploration of possibility. The Niyamas ask “just how much joy can I experience in my life.” This code of living in yogic philosophy isn’t a harsh set of rules, there is no “right or wrong” or “better than worse.”
The Niyamas ask us to explore for ourselves, where can I find more clarity, joy, refinement, freedom and harmony? They ask to plant seeds of purity, contentment, self discipline, self-study and surrender.
“It is relatively easy to be kind, compassionate, open, and expansive sitting on the safety of my yoga mat. I can be deeply in love here. But the question remains, will I choose love once I step off this mat? The true test of love comes in the moment to moment ordinariness of life.” – Deborah Adele
The more I practice this exploration, this cause and effect relationship, the easier it is to feel better. It’s easy to drop the maladaptive behavior in favour of the ones that bring lightness and ease. The more you step into this possibility of feeling really good, the more clarity you’ll have on where you need to shift.
This exploration has been a treat. The discipline to change comes with practice, not force, and the things that I thought were a necessary part of life have now been deemed unnecessary and unappealing.
“These jewels are not a moral positioning with hard and fast rules. They will not tell you what to believe or what to seek in your life for your own fulfillment. Instead they will equip you to meet each situation with flexibility, understanding, and wisdom. They will give you tools to live more simply, to create less disturbance in your life, and to clear the clutter.” – Deborah Adele
Here’s to more joy and ease. Here’s to possibility
With grace and grit,