With busy lives and many pressures, we all know we need to take time to nurture and ground ourselves – to breathe, to connect with our inner wisdom and nature. But often, we find it is far easier to talk about what we should do and explain why we can’t find the time to do the things we know are good for us. This we do again and again, while life’s burdens and pressures mount.
Why do we allow this cycle to perpetuate? Why do we not prioritise our mental, physical emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing?
The obvious answer is that we are not sufficiently motivated. Perhaps the benefits do not seem significant enough, or we think that personal, creative and spiritual work comes at too high a price? We think a daily practice like yoga or meditation will take a lot of effort and commitment that at times may even be uncomfortable. It may require waking up early and/or going to bed early, which could be a lifestyle adjustment. It may require that we relook our habits and, as a result, be forced to change.
This kind of courage, the courage it takes to make meaningful change, can be daunting. Perhaps we are more comfortable to stay where we “safely” are? The things we need to change may be too scary, too hard, too real. And, of course, once we acknowledge the existence of uncomfortable truths, we have a duty to do something about them.
So, we continue to do nothing. The busyness of our lives conveniently continues to distract us and hide the truth from us.
If you are struggling with this circular scenario, here are three mindful and practical steps can you follow to make small but significant changes for personal growth:
- Select one small, daily activity that you will do slowly and mindfully, for example brushing your teeth or walking to the car. During this activity, take the time to focus on the body’s movement. Be aware of the breath in your body as you move. Become aware of your environment. Listen to the sounds around you. Be entirely present.
- Stop moving for two to three minutes every day and simply be. There is no one who is too busy to take a few minutes for themselves – so don’t answer the phone, don’t check your watch, don’t do anything! Allow yourself that precious time to switch off. Allow your shoulders to relax, your face to relax. Allow your body to melt downwards towards your connection points with the earth – your feet, your buttocks. Feel the breath in your body as it moves up and down. Feel the inner peace. Take the time to identify one thing for which you are grateful.
- On rising and retiring to sleep, don’t just get up straight away or switch off the lights before you have taken a moment to consider and contemplate yourself on a deeper level. Ask yourself whether your spirit feels nourished and whether what you are doing is fulfilling your highest potential. Dig deep and listen – your inner voice will reveal itself over time.
The more you start to access your own unfolding, the more you will start to see what changes need to be made. This can help you prioritise what’s truly important and this will help you to begin to act on it.
What we need to be healthy is different for each of us – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Committing to this simple reflective process, can start a wonderful unfolding journey.
You may need to be courageous.
The choice is always ours.
By Claire Naidoo
Claire teaches the Spiritual Stretch Classes on a Monday Evening at 5.00pm – 6.15pm and a Wednesday Early Morning from 6am – 7am. She also teaches the Ashtanga early morning classes on a Saturday and Sunday. Please see the ISHTA timetable here.