You know that feeling you get when you’re walking on a deserted beach and there's no one but you?
A gentleness descends. All the things that have been stressing you out start to melt away.
You become more aware of your breath with each footstep, as you watch seagulls dance in the ocean spray. Somewhere below you, gravity grounds you into the sand, you begin to experience the spaciousness of everything all around and suddenly you are in bliss.
There is nothing more than this. Why? Because all the things you were struggling against seep out of you with the tidal flow. You let go.
We’re much too hard on ourselves.
Over the years, since I've been a yoga teacher I've become acutely aware of how hard people are on themselves. It’s like we’ve been bred to push and push until our eyes pop out of our head, but the truth is we’re just human.
That means we’re sensitive, and unlike machines that pre-programmed for consistency, our moods, emotions, and energy levels will fluctuate and affect how we feel.
Somewhere along the line we’ve developed high expectations of ourselves, but it pays to remember we don’t need to be perfect, and sometimes giving in or only giving as much as we’ve got is good enough.
It’s perfectly natural and normal that there are days when we feel less than 100 percent. Fight against them and we’re likely to suffer. Embrace them with the spirit of surrender, and we might find ourselves in a state of beachy-bliss.
You see, yoga can help us on days like these. After all, it’s about developing sensitivity towards ourselves and tuning in to our needs. With the increased awareness yoga gives us, we can use the information we receive to make intelligent decisions about what is best for us. It’s all about kindness.
The thing is, surrendering isn’t a sign of weakness; it is a sign of street smarts and strength. You are choosing to act compassionately towards yourself by honouring what life is trying to tell you.
Follow your bliss and the Universe will open doors where there were only walls. ~Joseph Campbell
Sometimes, if we don’t have the energy for something, it could just be the Universe’s way of telling you to find a different way. So, next time you feel less than fabulous, be gentle. Stop struggling against yourself and surrender. Here are some tips on how to find your bliss when you're feeling off.
1. Lay down.
Override your instinct to keep going and take Savasana. Make it extra comfy with blankets, blocks, and pillows, and stay for longer that you would usually.
2. Release and relax.
Move your awareness around your body from head to toe, consciously asking yourself to relax into the space you find yourself in. If you're tired, stressed or sick: give in.
3. Ask yourself, “What do I need today?”
When you feel your body relax, ask yourself using clear language, “What do I need today? What do I need in this moment to help myself feel nourished and nurtured?” Tune in and take time to listen for the response.
4. Cultivate the energy you have.
Use whatever energy you have to begin a slow, soothing practice—using the feedback your body gave you to adapt your practice as much as you need to. If you’re used to going full power, opt for some restorative poses instead, or stay in Savasana or meditation.
5. Attitude is everything.
Move through your day with an attitude of acceptance. Don't waste energy wishing you felt happier or healthier. Just be with what is.
6. Clear your diary.
On down days, clear your diary and don't feel guilty about it. Sometimes surrendering, taking the path of least resistance, can feel good.
Finally trust yourself and have faith in how you feel. There is nothing wrong with you—you just need to recharge a little. We’re not supposed to be in a constant state of hyperactivity. It’s important to relax the pace of life from time to time in order to give yourself whatever it is you need most.