By Angela Schaefers aka Stella Bodhi
These are the questions people often ask me: How do I quiet my mind? How do I relax my body? How do I get into a meditative state? “There are many ways,” is my immediate answer. There are many ways because every way may not work for everyone or in the same way.
Most of us are regularly in the hustle and bustle of life—work, school, family and so many obligations that take our time and energy. Finding time to take care of ourselves personally can seem daunting.
I learned the hard way that when I don’t keep a pulse on my own health and well-being, I end up ill physically, emotionally or both. When I decided I had had enough of not being able to take care of my family or enjoy life to the fullest, I decided to take action.
When I first began to do yoga I was not very healthy in mind, body or spirit. Every part of my body and soul ached. There were so many things going wrong versus going right. In the beginning of my yoga practice, over 20 years ago, it was very frustrating that I could not relax. I had no idea how. I recall feeling quite defeated after those first classes, until I heard the magic words from the instructor, “Be okay with where you are at today. Give your best to your practice today. Honor yourself for being here today.” It was amazing how much better I felt by letting myself off the hook of perfection.
And that’s where the magic happens. When we can walk into a situation (not just yoga class!) and be okay with where we are at in the moment and give it our all without feeling like a failure when we don’t get everything just right, we are winning!
Sometimes our body is not aligned with our spirit and mind. There are aches and pains, perhaps illness too. Sometimes our mind is overwhelmed with emotion or thoughts we cannot seem to regulate. This is quite normal, since we are human. In our humanness we also have the gift of being able to accept what is before us and change our perception of it.
Here’s what works for me:
- Deep, nasal breathing in and out at a slow pace calms down my thoughts and regulates my physical being too.
- Letting go physically and just going with the flow of the music, the instructors directives, and allowing my body to do what it will in the moment actually frees me to do more than I could have otherwise.
- Setting myself up for success before I start my practice by telling myself I am where I am right here, right now, physically and emotionally and it is okay, allows everything to flow with ease.
You can relax your body and mind with practice. You can let go of the idea behind ‘hustle’—running around, pressure, lack of groundedness and shallow breathing. Instead of hustle you can have a relaxed, cool, calm state of mind, body and soul. It’s yours if you choose it!
Angela Davis Schaefers aka Stella Bodhi is a yoga teacher, coach, speaker and writer. She has interviewed people around the globe to share their inspiring stories of overcoming challenges and living successfully. She writes various articles on motivation, self-improvement and inspiration, often sharing her own experiences. She has published her book, Your Story Matters, You Matter – A Guide to Healing, Learning From and Sharing Your Story and facilitates workshops using the book. She can help you learn, heal from and share your story! www.yourstorymatters.net