“The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings” ~ Okakura Kakuzo
That’s a quote I happen to have been looking at a lot recently, and suddenly it’s become immediately relevant.
This week, my husband and I were informed that our landlord is putting our apartment up for sale. So after just 15 months living here, after moving down to Hampshire from the Midlands, we’re faced with the prospect of moving … again.
And I do love this apartment in many ways. I love its large open rooms and the sense of space. I love the kitchen and its many cupboards (sad, but I do like some nice storage ;-). I love the light, bright bathroom and the roomy en suite. I love the space there is for me to practise yoga. I love the view from the bedroom window. I love the old trees in the apartment block’s grounds. And above all, I love the way our windows are perfectly positioned to see stunningly beautiful autumn and winter sunsets.
Oh dear, I’m starting to feel sad already that I probably won’t be seeing those lovely sunsets this autumn. I’m wishing we didn’t have to leave…
Yoga to the rescue!
So not wishing to get down in the dumps and despondent, I determined to reach into my yoga treatment bag to find all sorts of remedies to help me
Symptom – feeling sad at having to leave
…Not wanting to leave the apartment and leaving behind happy memories, sunsets and lots of lovely space.
Yoga remedy: practise non-attachment.
All things change and all things pass.
It’s only four walls. We rent so we’ve always known we wouldn’t live here forever.
Be grateful for the beautiful sunsets I’ve seen. The sun’s not going to stop setting; there’ll always be an opportunity to see another one!
Practising contentment – I have my health, my husband, my family and friends. And I have my yoga practice to help me through life’s challenges.
Symptom – stress
…Getting a stressy feeling about dealing with letting agents, and trying to find somewhere else to live. Wondering where to live, making sure there are decent transport links to where I work, feeling fed-up that my commute is likely to be much longer than my current 15-minute walk through pretty, leafy streets.
My breathing rate starts to increase, I start breathing shallowly and my body’s stress response kicks in.
Yoga remedy: counted breathing to stop the flow of negative thoughts and focus on my breath.
Practising mindfulness. Gently bringing my attention to what I’m doing now and notice if/when my mind is running away on a whole list of “what ifs…?”
Doing some grounding posture work. Triangles and warriors: yes I can deal with this!!
Symptom – getting annoyed with myself
Getting a bit down on myself that I’m getting stressed about something which I can’t change…
Yoga remedy: self-acceptance. OK, feeling anxious is my immediate reaction and perfectly natural because it came out of the blue and moving home is a big thing. So it’s fine to be annoyed / stressed / fearful.
Also, I can choose not to get bogged down in that. I have it completely in my power to choose how I feel about this situation. I choose to accept it.
Symptom – feeling uncertain about the future
Yoga remedy: Positive affirmations, such as “my life is unfolding perfectly”. There’s no point struggling against circumstances and wasting energy on what ifs.
Choosing to look at this unexpected change as an opportunity. Maybe it’s the right time now to buy a house instead – to put down some roots and settle.
Living life with yoga
Practising yoga doesn’t stop challenging things happening in our lives. It doesn’t stop reactions of fear, uncertainty and frustration.
What it does is to enable us to find our inner strength and resolve. It helps us to take a step back from our initial reactions to a situation, to breathe and to see the opportunities for growth and positive change.
I can step onto my mat and connect with my breath and my body and know that I will always have that in my life.
I can step off my mat and know that I have the ability to deal with whatever life throws at me.
I can study and put into practice the teachings of yoga and know that they give me a deep source of strength which will enable me to cope with life’s challenges and achieve what I want to.
And to know that while life may whirl around me, I will always have a deep well of stillness, compassion and love within me that will nourish my spirit and allow me to connect with myself and others, no matter what happens.
Stella Tomlinson teaches Dru yoga in Southampton, UK. Dru yoga is a flowing and therapeutic style of yoga, characterised by graceful movements, directed breathing, relaxation techniques and working with affirmations and visualisations. Connect with Stella via Facebook and Twitter.