Do you think you could feel more connected and positive? Do you sense your life could be better, but when you’ve tried to change, it just doesn’t work?
Do you feel worried or frustrated or overwhelmed (or all 3!) more than you’d like to admit? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you know in your heart you’re not showing up the way you want or living your best life.
I’ve been there and I know how uncomfortable it feels. I also know that in order to create a life you really want, there are 3 things you must believe.
And by the way, when you understand and trust these 3 important things, positive change becomes simple and potent and vital.
Welcome to Simple Yoga Life, a weekly show about making the wisdom and practices of yoga part of your life so that you can be more present, calm, and confident every single day. I’m your host, Stephannie Weikert. I’m a Certified Yoga Therapist and creator of the online programs Shift Happens with Yoga + Make Peace with Stress. I’m on a mission help you make big, positive changes in your life in small, surprisingly simple steps.
Here’s the backstory about how I came to recognize the 3 things you must believe to create the life you want.
There was a time in my life I felt on the verge of losing it every single day. I was working a lot, not taking very good care of myself, and completely disconnected from what I wanted for myself.
My body was tense and tired, and my mind was negative and self-critical and preoccupied with worry. Everything was frustrating and overwhelming because it felt like I was on a neverending emotional rollercoaster.
I tried so many times to get myself together and change my life, but it never worked and my sense of dread and hopelessness got worse and worse. During those years, my stress and self-loathing fueled a body-focused repetitive behavior, a nervous habit, like nail biting.
I pulled on my eyebrows and eyelashes. Whenever my mind was racing, which was all the time, I would find myself manically pulling and eventually I pulled every single eyebrow hair and eyelash out.
One day, despite having had no eyebrows or eyelashes for a while, I realized I was intensely rubbing my around my eyes feeling for something to tug on. The urge was so powerful, I went to a mirror to search and experienced a profound moment of truth.
Seeing myself, really seeing the strain and discontent on my face awakened an undeniable insight: it was time to do whatever it took to take charge of myself.
The realization immediately made my head spin. Literally. I go so dizzy at that moment I sat down on the edge of the bathtub and put my head between my knees.
My mind was screaming in desperation, but as I instinctively slowed my breathing to avoid fainting, I heard an inner whisper: Stop pulling out your eyebrows and eyelashes.
So this weird coping mechanism that was absolutely a symptom of my stress and filled me with shame was where I started. (There may have also been a bit of vanity motivating me!)
I was determined to put all my effort into it, so when I caught myself pulling on eyebrows or eyelashes that weren’t even there, I’d bend over and take a few slow breaths. I’d repeat to myself, “You don’t have to pull out your eyebrows and eyelashes.”
This simple practice interrupted my pattern of feeling overwhelmed and exacerbating it with manic behavior. A moment of slowing myself down helped me feel a bit better so I stuck with it and my eyebrows and eyelashes (very, very slowly!) began to grow back.
Even though my nervous habit began to subside when I felt myself getting stressed, anxious, or down, I continued to forward bend and breathe. It was so simple to do and I’d calm myself by acknowledging, “You’re ok, you’re ok, everything is ok.”
Little by little I stopped thinking every challenge was the end of the world and taking better care of myself became a priority. And as I continued this simple practice of bending over and breathing, my inner dialog shifted to, “I am calm, I am capable, my peace begins within me.”
I didn’t fully understand this at the time, but I was gaining the benefits of yoga with one simple practice. And my life started and continued to change. I started feeling more confident and connected to myself and more optimistic about my future.
During this time, which was about a year, I came to recognize the 3 things you must believe to create the life you want.
First, your growth is your purpose in life.
No matter what you’ve been taught, consciously or subconsciously, self-care and personal development are not selfish. You have to take care of yourself in order to care for others and the more you thrive, the more you are able to give.
The heart shows us the truth of this. Every time your heart beats it first pumps blood to itself, then to the rest of the body. It has to work this way in order for us to stay alive.
And my story is also an example of this, my ability to guide and support you is undoubtedly a direct result of continually making myself a priority.
The second thing you must believe to create the life you want is that your struggles point directly to the life lessons you’re meant to learn to grow.
I’ve experienced this personally and seen it in my work professionally over and over.
A very wise woman, Pema Chodron says, “nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.”
In my case, pulling out my eyebrows and eyelashes was an obvious symptom of my inner turmoil and by focusing on understanding and changing that pattern, I discovered how to reclaim and redirect my experience.
A lesson that has changed the trajectory of my life and that I still use.
The third thing you must believe in order to create the life you want is that lasting positive changes aren’t complicated but require consistency.
It’s so easy to want an overnight solution, but it very rarely works that way. It’s also easy to believe that so much has to change for your life to change and feel overwhelmed with it all and do nothing.
The truth is, a lot will change and focusing on one simple thing can change a lot. In habit building, it’s called a keystone habit. A keystone is the center point in an arch that holds the whole thing together.
My experience was that one simple, daily practice fueled massive positive change in my life for years and many of my students have shared that experience as well.
So how do you use these 3 insights to create the life you want?
Here’s a simple 3-step practice to help you trust your heart, embrace your struggle, and cultivate routine.
First, a mudra which is just a posture for your hands. This one’s called vajrapradama and it develops unshakable trust. Interlace your fingers in front of your heart all the way down to the webbing. Hold the forearms horizontal and elbows straight out.
Now blow all of your breath out of pursed lips as if you have a straw between your lips. Inhale through your nose. Once more blow your breath out of an imaginary straw between your lips.
As you inhale extend the arms out to either side then exhale bring your right hand to your left shoulder and your left hand to your right shoulder. Give yourself a big hug. Take a breath here.
Inhale extend your arms again now bring your left hand to your right shoulder and your right hand to your left shoulder. Once more embrace yourself. Inhale arms out.
Bring your hands to your lap. Take 3 or so breaths and say to yourself I know I’m breathing in, I know I’m breathing out.
Make this 2-minute practice part of your routine every day for a month or so to prove to yourself just how powerful the self-care of embracing yourself daily is. You can download and print a practice guide here:
So thank you for watching this episode Simple Yoga Life, I hope I’ve inspired you to begin making simple yoga part of your routine.
Let me know in the comments below which of these 3 things resonates with you the most:
1. Your growth is your life’s purpose.
2. Your struggles equal your life lessons. Or
3. Simple + Consistent + Lasting Change.
And I’m sure you know a busy, stressed-out woman who could benefit from feeling more present, calm, and confident every day, please share this video with her.
A rising tide lifts all boats, so everything you do to create the life you want truly does elevate us all. Thank you.
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