Updated: Oct 11, 2020
I often wake up in the morning from a night of restless sleep with aches and pains, feeling unfocused, frustrated, and overwhelmed. I try to ground myself by setting my intention for the day and setting up my space for my practice. I light candles, burn incense, sage, pick a pretty crystal to place on my altar, and wrap myself up in a big, fuzzy blanket and cuddle up next my dog.
Because of my diligent practice and study in Yoga and Ayurveda, I have come to understand my body-mind type as someone who has tendencies to worry a lot and be extremely hard on myself. This is known as a Vata-Pitta type in Ayurveda. And I have learned how to maintain a healthy lifestyle by balancing these innate physical and emotional characteristics and traits that make me the unique individual that I am.
Simply put, I've learned it's all about doing what will feel good for me in the long run, not just what feels good in the very moment. We're often deceived by our feelings. For example, it may make me feel good at the moment to drink a Venti Caramel Macchiato as my meal, which I have admittedly done many times being a Vata, but will this really allow me to feel nourished and good in the long run? No. Another example is running 50 plus miles a week so I can eat and drink whatever I want. Yes, I have done this because of my Pitta nature. Let me be clear that there's nothing wrong with running. In fact, I still run currently but not in an overly competitive nature where my only goal is to run so many miles so I could eat pizza. Although, this lifestyle allowed me to stay fit and eat whatever I wanted without guilt, it was not good for me in the long run because it became an obsession.
We live in a world of instantaneous self-gratification with a lost sense of awareness and no concern of the future well-being of our physical and mental health. Our society has become so busy and out of tune and out of touch with what is truly important, and it has succumbed to the instantaneous self-gratification which has presented itself as the one of the biggest, most challenging feats this country is now facing regarding maintaining our physical and mental well-being.
As soon as I start to notice that I have increased worry, feelings of being overwhelmed, sleepless nights, frustration, aches and pains in muscles and joints and issues with my digestion, which are all related to my Vata-Pitta type, I know that I have to go into my imaginary toolbox and pull out whatever tools I have collected in my years of studying Yoga and Ayurveda to help get myself back on track. And I know how hard it is to get that "toolbox" out, even as a yoga teacher who has studied and collected a lot of tools. It's not a quick fix. Staying in balance isn't like going on a diet. It's a lifestyle. It's a promise you make to yourself to make the changes in your life that will make you feel good in the long such, such as, constantly work hard by learning and improving yourself with self-reflection and self-study, never giving up, and not letting your emotions, temptations, or life's distractions pull you down.
Staying in balance for me means maintaining a self-compassionate and grounding daily routine. Here's a list of some of the core tools I incorporate in my practice: one, asanas, yoga poses, to help alleviate joint and muscle pain and stress; two, pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation to help clear the mind of any stress and worries; three, eating three meals a day, with the midday meal being the largest meal (my meals are warm, grounding, and nourishing); four, sipping on warm tea all day like CCF tea (cumin, coriander, fennel) which promotes healthy digestion; and five, getting outside in nature going for walks or runs with my dog.
So, are you going to let your feelings to deceive you? I believe that we all know what truly is good for us in the long run and that we are all capable of overcoming whatever we set our minds to. Each of us plays an integral part in this society. And we can all be better and make the world a better place one person at a time, especially in these trying times, by becoming more aware of our physical and mental well-being by learning how to respond to ourselves and others with full awareness, nonjudgment, and compassion instead of being deceived by feelings of instantaneous self-gratification which we know can and will set us up for failure.