Take Care of YOU

Growing-into-your-futureSometimes people tell me they really want to do yoga on a regular basis, but just don’t have the time. I understand what it’s like to wish there were more hours in the day. For example, as I write this, it’s after midnight, but my two kids are asleep, and I’ve answered all the emails and private messages for the day. Things are quiet now, and I can think. Do I wish it was 9pm, so I could get more sleep? Yep. Earlier today, I taught two classes, one in the morning and one this evening, and in between, I played “The Game of Life” with my kids, chased them around outside, took our dog for a walk, squeezed in two business calls, and threw my mat down in the middle of the living room for 30 minutes, in the midst of a mad dress-up game that involved ninjas, scientists, and a hunt for poltergeists. Sometimes that’s how it is. Of course I prefer a nice, quiet ninety minutes on my mat, and a solid thirty for seated meditation, but I’ll take thirty minutes total over nothing, even if my kids are running back and forth through the room. It’s summertime. They’ll be back in school before I know it, and I’ll have a little more time to take care of myself. It’s a different kind of yoga, but just as powerful. And there’s something sweet about it; sometimes they join me. I’ll take ten or fifteen minutes for some sun salutes and a chance to connect to my breath, align myself, and open things up, if that’s all I can work in. Maybe some pigeon pose while my kids sit on my back. When we say we’re “too busy” to take care of ourselves, something has really gone awry.

It might surprise you to know that ten minutes is better than nothing. And please don’t misunderstand me, here, I think you deserve more time than that to nurture yourself, but if you’re someone who isn’t doing anything at all because you feel overwhelmed and frustrated at the thought of trying to squeeze in two hours to drive somewhere, park, throw your mat down in a class and head home, I get it. It’s one of the many reasons we wanted to offer online options for people. I have a whole bunch of classes called “Yoga for Busy Moms.” (Dads can take it, too, and so can busy people with dogs, cats or fish). We have another section called, “Fully Cooked in 45 or Less.” A lot of studios, including ours, are offering 60-minute and 75-minute classes in addition to the traditional 90, because not everyone can carve out that kind of time in their days. Doing something to nurture and strengthen yourself is always better than doing nothing. Always. Saying you don’t have the time to commit to yourself is really really sad. Your relationship with yourself is the foundation for all the relationships in your life. If you don’t fill your tank, where do you expect to find the fuel to care for anyone else well? How can you pursue your passions if you don’t allow yourself some time, every single day, to tune in and get quiet, so you can hear the voice of your intuition, and allow yourself to be pulled by it?

Everything feels better after I’ve practiced, for any amount of time. If this is a new concept for you, just commit to 15 minutes a day for 2 weeks, and see how you feel. I guarantee you’ll find you have more energy, and you feel calmer and steadier. I mentioned I played the game of Life with my kids today. I’d never played it before, so we read the directions together before we started. If you’ve never played it, you spin a wheel and take your car a certain number of spaces, and you land on an “Action”. The action might be to start a rock band, and pay the bank 50k. Or you might land on a house and have to pay the bank 300k. Sometimes you get paid, because your cake was the tastiest, or you had the best disco moves. But right there, in the directions, before we’d even started, it said, “At the end of the game, the person with the most money wins.” And I looked up at my kids and I said, “This might be how you win this game called, ‘Life’”, but in real life, at the end, the person with the most money does not win.” They already know this, because we talk about this stuff, and you already know this, too, I realize that, but sometimes we need reminding. You can’t take it with you. Your house isn’t going with you, and neither is your car, your wardrobe, your shoes, your promotion, your corner office, or your degrees. My son was funny. Every time he had to pay the bank for something, he said, “That’s okay, because now I get to have a cool farmhouse with a sheep on top, and sheep are cool.” Or, “That’s okay, because I got to go on a trip and see the world.” The most valuable assets you can accrue are experiences. Experiences that include cultivating the relationships in your life so they grow and blossom and take your breath away. Spending time with your children because they grow so fast, and soon they’ll be taller than you, and soon you’ll be teaching them to drive, and one day they’ll drive away from you. If you nurture them and listen to them and laugh with them and talk to them, my guess is, they’ll also come back because they’ll want to be near you. Especially if they feel safe and heard and understood. And this goes for all the people in your life. Maybe you don’t have kids, but you have parents and friends and family members, and you have the relationship you’re having with yourself. You need to cultivate that, too. Please don’t say you don’t have time for that. Because that really is losing the game of Life. If you sign up for our site here, you get a free 15-day trial. Let me meet you in your living room for 2 weeks. It’s time for you to start winning this game.

Sending you love, and a giant hug,

Ally Hamilton

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