Regaining Control of Your Life Through Yoga
You’ve lost control. Totally. Life is a whirlwind of work, family responsibilities, loss of sleep over stress and worry, bad diet, being hurried all of the time, and meeting the demands of others. Is this what life is supposed to be? Well yes, it is, if you accept that. Making the choice not to accept that and taking very specific steps to regain control and balance in your life is the best thing you can do for yourself, and Yoga can be a huge part of that decision.
The Things That Cause Lack of Control
There are five things that cause a person to lose control of his/her life. And here is how Yoga can help.
A lot of things create stress in your life. Demands at work may cause you to put in long hours, take work home, and spend weekends on projects and problem-solving. Family responsibilities take their toll too. You are taxiing busy kids around to activities, monitoring their school work and progress. You are trying to be supportive of a spouse/partner who is dealing with his/her own stressors. You have elderly parents who require attention and help. When you are not actually doing all of these things, you are worrying about them. This causes lack of sleep, inability to focus, and a general feeling that you are in the middle of a tornado with no way out.
Yoga for Stress Relief
The whole point of Yoga is to unite the mind, body, and breathing. And these are the three things that are affected negatively by stress. There are Yoga poses that are great for stress relief, even very simple ones that will relax those tense muscles in the neck, shoulders and back.
When you are in one of those simple poses, though, you must think about how you can unite your body with your mind and your breathing. Keep your breathing slow and even and visualize yourself on top of a mountain looking over a beautiful valley. Don’t let your thoughts wander, thinking about all that you must do. Focus on the now, on being on top of that mountain, and your slow, steady breathing. You are in control of your thoughts, your breathing and your body in this moment. Stay there and feel the relaxation that comes.
The great part about this practice is that you can conjure it up at any time. When stress is threatening, close your eyes, get on that mountain and just breathe. It’s amazing. And when you return to the “reality at hand, your mind will be clearer, you will be calmer, and you can move forward with a sense of control and steadiness.
When we are stressed and there is too much to do, it is easy to get into this spiral of anger resentment. Why me? Why is this happening? I can’t stretch myself any further, and it makes me angry. I resent that others seem to have life so much easier than I do.
Yoga for Anger and Resentment
The first step to get rid of anger and resentment is to recognize that you have it and to embrace it. Then you have to incorporate those Yoga exercises that will help you expel it. These exercises will be far different from those that relieve stress.
You need vigorous movement, not quiet poses. Power Yoga exercises are perfect for getting rid of anger. With each move and inhale and exhale, you are moving that anger around and ultimately expelling it. When you breathe in, embrace that anger, move it throughout your body with the active exercises, and then exhale it all out. Again, this is the unification of your mind, body and breathing.
You can end your power Yoga workout (about 10 minutes at most), with the Woodchopper pose. Stand with your feet apart and knees bent just slight. Put your arms over your head and interlace your fingers. Take a big inhale and then bring those arms down as if you are chopping a wood log. Yell “Ha!” as you exhale and bring those arms down. When you feel that your anger has been dispelled, you can then stand quietly with your eyes closed and savor the peace that you now feel.
One of the things that makes us feel that we are totally out of control is a diet that has produced unwanted weight gain. We would like to control it, but our will power just seems to have run away, and here we are eating badly and adding to that poundage. And being unable to control diet and weight gain makes us feel that we can’t control other parts of our lives either. Getting control of our diet and weight will give us the confidence to take control of other aspects of our lives too.
Yoga for Weight Loss
Yoga is very diverse, so there are exercises for all types of situations, including the need/desire to lose weight. If weight loss is the goal, then choosing a more vigorous form will be very helpful – check out Ashtanga, Vinyasa or Power Yoga for choices. Any of these three will burn calories and tone and stretch your muscles.
But you want more than just burning calories. You want a long-term plan for avoiding weight gain now and in the future. And this is why Yoga is so beneficial. With Yoga you establish an inner focus as well, a mindfulness that will let you shift focus to the ways you think about eating and treating your body well. Regular diet and exercise programs will not do that. The best advice? Get into a Yoga class that focuses on weight and diet and love the new you that will emerge.
4. Relationships and Demands
Sometimes the relationships we have with others are not as healthy as they should be. We have friends, partners, and children that demand so much of our time, we are unable to focus on our own health and well-being, not to mention our own goals.
Yoga for Relationships and Demands
One of the things that Yoga teaches us is to resist the urge to react quickly. The person who can’t say no in any kind of relationship or situation is the person who is reacting in the moment rather than from a balanced, calm, thought-out approach. The Yoga solution is mindfulness meditation. When you practice mindfulness meditation, you become far less reactive, can assess situations more clearly, and communicate your needs in a more effective way. So, when someone wants you to drop everything to meet of their demands, you have the ability to breathe and to calmly respond and share your needs and feelings that will now allow you to do that right now. What a liberating lifestyle you will now possess.
5. Lack of Balance in Life
The above 4 situations all contribute to a general lack of balance in your life. And when your life is not balanced, you are unhappy. Each of us has to have a life that reflects productivity, fun, healthy activity, and good relationships, and each of these conditions must be nurtured if we are to achieve the right balance. The beauty of Yoga is that it is holistic – it provides a source for us to unify our mind, our body and our breathing so that all of our chakras are in balance. And when they are in balance, so too are our lives.
Written By: Kerry Creaswood
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