12 August, 2015
I am normally quite a healthy specimen. In my youth I suffered consistently from adrenal fatigue, two late nights in a row and my glands would flare up. However since embracing a daily meditation practice and bringing more yoga and consciousness in to my day-to-day life, all of those old recurring habits softly faded away.
That is until my son Theo turned up on the scene.
During the newborn weeks as you cradle this darling new babe in your arms it’s impossible to conceive of the germy little organism your child will develop in to. The first we heard of it was when my partner’s colleague, a seasoned parent, referred to the pool where Theo was taking swimming lessons as “the petri dish”.
A brand new immune system exposed to a few mornings at crèche, multiple handle bars of shopping trolleys at Countdown, the petri dish pool and an assault of immunisations has meant poor Theo has been on again off again sick since the end of May. What started with a cold led to hand, foot and mouth disease, which led to a runny nose, which led to a virus, which led to a hacking cough. Dozens of boxes of Sorbent, countless broken sleeps. In the last week we appear to be finally coming out of the woods.
What I wasn’t prepared for was contracting the hideous virus myself at the end of July and being truly sick for the first time in many months. I tried all the tricks to ward it off, got to bed early at night, drank ten times my body weight in vitamin C, ate red apples, but sadly nothing worked. In the end it took losing my voice and being bed-ridden with aches and pains for me to truly surrender, cancel my schedule and allow myself the time to heal.
If you’ve got kids you’ll empathise that there are no longer any ‘sick days’ on the couch. Thank goodness for Granny! These days this is one of my daily mantras.
If we’re practicing yoga accurately the main benefit is to create more flow in your life. What does this look like? Your life becomes more effortless, there is a gentle ease to everything you do and you feel lightness in the body and mind. From time to time, invariably life will throw up a pineapple on your path and it’s your yoga that can help bring you back to a place of inner peace and equanimity. You won’t necessarily be happy, but you will be at peace.
So how can we achieve this? Here’s some practical advice I share with my coaching clients on recreating balance when the scales have been tipped in to crazy land.
Practice The Power Of Now: In his philosophy The Power Of Now, Eckhart Tolle talks about observing and recognising the difference between yourself and your life story. Things that happen to you; getting sick, having an argument, crashing the car, winning the lottery; are all transitory experiences, they come and go like waves on the shore. Learn to connect with that inner aspect of your self that is unchanging. Once you have the directions, you have access to this place anytime, anywhere. Consistent yoga and meditation practice is like the Google Maps on this journey.
I’m in a total crisis! I don’t have time to practise yoga and meditation…
(The time that we think we don't have time for our practice, is when we need it the most!)
Practise kindness to self. Acknowledge this is a challenging time in your life and remind yourself ‘this too shall pass’. Get it tattooed on your arm! I will too. We can get matching tattoos. Identify recurring negative self talk and reaffirm your love for yourself. You can do this silently, out loud or in a journal. Use the following structure: Even though I’m beating up on myself for XYZ, I unconditionally love and respect myself. Even though I’m feeling guilty for XYZ, I unconditionally love and respect myself. Even though I’m having trouble letting go, I unconditionally love and respect myself.
Check in with wellbeing. Science says that to improve the health of our brains there are three factors that need to be observed: Diet, Exercise, Sleep. Rather than dissolving in to takeaway food and the entire back catalogue of Mad Men, take five minutes to check in with your wellbeing. Can you get 8 – 9 hours sleep tonight? Can you go for a short twenty minute walk around the block? Can you buy some vegetables and make a few meat free, healthy dinners? How much water have you had today? By tweaking a few of these basic lifestyle habits you are helping yourself move closer to wellbeing.
Respect your limits. Try and get under the bonnet to the real issue driving the stressful situation. Are you too busy and feeling overwhelmed? What/who needs to go? Call in your support team. A friendly glass of wine on a Friday afternoon with a friend can be the ear you need to release thoughts/tensions that are bothering you. Try to be conscious of not over-committing yourself, leaving space for yourself to enjoy the roses.
Do something you love. What are you passionate about? What really gets your soul fired up? A round of golf? Photography in nature? Travelling? Writing? Walking the dog? Having a massage or your hair cut? Think about what it is that ‘fills your cup’ and schedule in an afternoon or a weekend dedicated to this practice. This is your yoga ‘off the mat’. It’s an experience or a hobbie that helps you to reconnect with your inner sense of wellbeing. A sure fire way to give back to yourself.
I would love to hear from you on anything that resonated for you in my article. How do you cope when sh*t hits the fan?
If you’re only just hanging on in challenging times and think a personal yoga and meditation practice might help, please contact me today to book a session ~ firstname.lastname@example.org
Namaste and love