I love being me
I’m finally, in my late 30s, getting to a point where I can wear a t-shirt stating ‘I love being me’ & it’s true!! There’s so much good about my life that I sometimes feel slightly guilty for my happiness or my luck. Then I realise that it is not necessarily my life as a whole..but more the sum of the parts that allows me to wake up and smile every day.
So what truly makes me happy? Umm well the sunshine helps. I’m sure we’ve all noticed a tendency for life to seem brighter when the sun shines and we can spend more time outside. This too is important to me, spending time just appreciating the beauty of nature. I am lucky to live with a view of the river and to be able to observe river life through the seasons. However when the weather is warmer I experience this more directly as I will take the dog out or just potter in the garden. Playing on my yoga platform in the sun adds an extra dimension to my practice and seems to connect me more directly to the energy of the world. Simultaneously invigorating my body and creating peace mentally.
Friend; studies show we are happier when we have a network of friends with whom we spend time or communicate regularly. Again as I have developed my yoga practice I have noticed that my friendships have changed. I’ve got people in my life who make me feel good, those I choose to spend my time with because they add to my happiness rather than drain me of my resources. Animals also add to my life. I share my life directly with a chihauhau and he constantly brings a smile to my mouth as he finds joy in playing with a discarded sock or just curls up with his head tucked into his tail. Music! My taste may not be the to other peoples’ taste-eclectic may be the official term-but it makes me happy! Singing (maybe badly) as I clean or do DIY and having the top down on the car in the sunshine with good music is the icing on the cake of life! Speaking of cake, food and drink can also be a source of happiness like the taste of English strawberries or a cup of chai with friends.
Learning can also be fun. Not the boredom of long school days working through a guidelines defining what I should know. Instead the fun of exploring into subjects which interest me. Loosening the cogs of my brain which post university had furred up and slowed down. The muscles of my mind itch to be regularly flexed and hence I enjoy both personal study and regular workshops or training in yogi related subjects. Although it seems that the more I learn, the more I find interesting and wish to explore. My good health also makes me happy, just waking and revelling in stretching into a body and mind that run smoothly. Even having been through some health concerns in recent years has merely highlighted the need for an ahinsa..non harming attitude toward myself. Our health has an obvious link with happiness. Chronic pain or just the frustration of a temporary physical glip can reduce the ease at which we find happiness in our bodies. This is when we learn to explore deeper levels of consciousness which are unaffected by our physical bodies. The pleasure and discipline of pranayama (breathing practices) and of using yoga as therapy.
My yoga practice, well obviously this brings me happiness!! At times on the mat there is the frustration of knowing my body is not comfortable or connecting with the practice as it has before. However I am learning to accept my practice as it is in the moment rather than where it was before or where I wish it to be. The joy of flow; the moments when breath and body connect and I experience the asana from the inside out. Loving the time to just play with no expectation, or just to relax knowing that this is as important as physical strength or flexibility. My teaching. I feel slightly uncomfortable to call it ‘work’ or a ‘job’ as I enjoy teaching more than the slightly negative associations with ‘working’!! I enjoy the routine of teaching yoga classes, the flexibility of individual yoga tuition and the challenge of yoga therapy. It is almost as though in teaching yoga in Cheshire I have found my place in life! Admittedly there are times I’m tired, or concerned over something but I find that when I start to teach all that fades away. Just the joy of sharing something that brings me so much happiness. That helping students to discover themselves through their practice is a constant bright spot in every day. I understand many people come to class for physical reasons or relaxation and I hope to encourage them to find more than they expected. I know that the yoga works at so many deeper levels and changes those that practice in subtle ways.
When I began to practice more regularly in my 20s I found a comfort in myself. In a world where I was still looking in the wrong places for happiness. I noticed how when I missed practice I was more dissatisfied with the rest of my life. It is only as yoga has become an integral part of my life that I am able to say I am happy. I am not saying it is the yoga that makes me happy. I suppose I am trying to explain that it is the yoga that has helped me to see what was there all the time!! That practicing yoga, not just the physical practice on my mat but also learning to spend time being just with myself, meditating and taking the practice into my day to day life. Enjoying being in the now, in the moment rather than living in the past; in ‘if only ‘ or ‘what if’ or constantly waiting for the future has allowed my natural happiness to blossom.
In my younger years, as I suppose we all do, I was busy looking for happiness in the wrong places, searching for the activities or acquisitions that would keep me feeling good. I have finally found that the only way to maintain happiness is to source it inside my self rather than looking to outside influences to make me happy. This I think has been the easiest lesson of my 20s partly because I didn’t realise I was learning it until I had!
It is also said that writing a gratitude journal can help us to be happier. Maybe some of it is learning to stop and examine the positive in our lives rather than the more usual just focusing on the negative. Learning to see what we have rather than what we haven’t! Even writing this blog has reminded me of just how much I have to appreciate. Looking forward to the summer ahead and sharing bubbles of happiness with the world