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  • Grace White

Take time for yourself

I’ve learnt, over the years, that the days I don’t feel like practising yoga are the days when getting on the mat would be most beneficial to me.


When I’m caught in the fast flow of life, it can seem impossible to stop. I’m surging downriver, caught in a current. Eventually, this flux will drag me under, or I will plummet over a vertical drop. Now, is the time to reach towards the bank for the root of a tree, grab hold of it, find stillness.


Do you ever experience that inability, or even unwillingness, to take time for yourself?


Perhaps you worry your family or work colleagues won’t be able to function without you? Or, maybe, you don’t believe you deserve time for yourself? It could be that outer circumstances appear to be conspiring against you. There are just so many responsibilities!


The river’s current is our mind, the speed of our thoughts, carrying us along. It may seem as if the pace is determined by what’s going on ‘out there’, by what other people need, but it’s only our perception of life that says we cannot stop and take hold of that tree root.


When have you ever felt worse after taking a moment to pause and catch your breath? Have you ever found that after spending half an hour of ‘me time’ – a bath, a massage, a walk in nature, a cup of tea and a book – that you regret the sanctuary of that experience and long for stress to return?


Yoga helps with this strange challenge we can experience at the thought of taking time for ourselves. It teaches us to observe the sensations, or noise, within the body so that we become aware of how resistance may play out within us. Through our practice, we learn to watch this conflict with a curiosity.


‘How interesting,’ we think as we notice a sense of rebellion against the very thing we most need.


It might be that we don’t want to let friends and family down – but do we serve them whilst hurtling downstream, flailing in the racing current of our mind? Surely, we could be a better friend, parent, or sibling, once we have found the edge of the river and come to stand strong on the bank?


Allow your yoga practice to teach you how to create a sacred space within – a calm place from which to observe the flux of your mind. With regular time out to tend to the waters of your thoughts you begin to notice when the current accelerates, and you make adjustments, knowing that by serving yourself you are serving others.


When your mind flows gently, those outer circumstance in life are manageable. When, through yoga, you calm the fast-flowing waters that are your thoughts, you can incubate new ideas and dreams, and it is here that you will discover a powerful reason to keep taking that valuable time for yourselves.

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