Clouds and Strength

Have you ever been in such a downward mood that you feel that there is just darkness around you? Everything you do still happens but there is like a glass between you and the world. You could be with your best friends having a gorgeous dinner or working through some important projects at work, and yet you are just going through the motions. It’s happening and you’re doing it, but you're not there. 

When life goes in a way I don’t like, I go into a little hole inside myself and so what I described happens to me for a few hours, and at worse a week or even longer. I realised after a really bad spell recently that I hadn’t been awake in my life because of this sadness I was forcing around myself. I was physically with my friends but my mind was somewhere else, seeking out the negative. I eventually woke up to the fact that I, and only I, was to blame for feeling so awful for so long. 

I am all for letting your emotions be and riding them out, not stopping them or forcing them to change but this was different. I started interacting with them and allowed them to control my thoughts and attitude. 

You’ll hear me banging on about mindfulness all the time but it’s one of the best lessons yoga can teach you. Learning the art of being aware and fully present gives you the gift of being awake. It’s during the practice that I consciously analyse who I am, how I’m feeling and what I’m doing. With the set sequence and knowing the breathing system, I can focus on myself. Am I punishing myself for not binding quite so tightly in Marichyasana D? Am I even trying to jump back and jump through? Am I being a little lazy? Where is my mind wandering off to now?

The questions are answered honestly and without judgement - it is just is what it is. Creating a bit of a distance between me and my thoughts helps to remind me that my thoughts do not make me who I am. I am not my mind. 

When I start to punish myself and linger on that thought of not quite binding, I instantly remember that it’s ok and that that negativity doesn’t have to be a part of me anymore. When I realise I’m being a little lazy with the jump backs, I then make a concerted effort to do them - though admittedly this changes slightly as the practice goes on! 

This attitude I cultivate during practice is something I try to keep off the mat too. Not just the self-awareness but the kindness and love I try to keep inside. By holding on to any negativity, you’re truly missing out on your own life. You are not in control of anything in the world except your own attitude and actions and this is a gift, because it means that you have the power to have the best life! 

You always have a choice as to how you want to behave and how you want to react, internally and externally. By just remembering this element of power during those periods of shade, I feel a little weight lifted and gratitude that I have experienced such things. Coming out the other side isn’t always the easiest path to find, but knowing it’s up to me to seek it out is a great comfort. 

So a question to ask the next time you feel any pain or fear; who is really in charge here?