If you’ve followed my Yoga Girl account for any amount of time, you’ve probably picked up on something: I can be unconventional. The methods I use to find happiness and balance might not be what you’d expect — but they always work!
Attending a film festival once, I matched my gala dress with a pair of flip-flops on the red carpet. I can spend hours a day on my computer, but I don’t like to carry a cell phone – far too stressful. I have an insatiable love for the ocean, but I bought a house surrounded by cacti in the Aruban desert. I enjoy getting up before the sun for my morning practice just as much as the thrill of a late night out.
My biggest passion in life is traveling, yet I committed to street dogs and goats in need of so much attention they can’t be left alone for more than a few hours (also, they chew things, and nobody wants to dog sit). Skiing is my favorite thing, but I live so close to the equator I need a shower every time I step out of my car. I like to wear black, but I feel pretty in white. And, if I only got to practice one single type of yoga for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t be able to choose between a tough Vinyasa flow or a soft Restorative.
What I’m saying is... I like opposites.
Life is all about opposites.
I find that when I’m feeling down or out of balance, it’s easier to find calm in the storm than anywhere else. Really. The next time you spin into that “everything sucks” spiral (and we all do from time to time), try something new.
Method #1 to manifest the feeling you desire:
Lean into the opposite.
Instead of shying away from what’s difficult, try to go into it. Sit with it. Let it be there! It’s usually fighting the present moment, fighting what is, that makes it hurt. Acceptance is key. Try to let everything be the way it is, because everything is already perfect. Didn’t you know? If there were no downs there would be no ups, and whatever it is you are feeling right now is a blessing. Appreciate that!
Know there is nothing to fix, nothing to change, and find that surrender is. That’s what will get you out of your funk and back on the fun train again. So if you’re feeling ungrounded, let it be. Be ungrounded. Life is not always rainbows and butterflies, and that’s okay.
Know that this, too, shall pass.
You can try doing what I do: intensify it. Find the opposite of whatever it is that you want. For instance, looking for happiness? Go deeper into sadness. When I’m feeling sad, I watch Terms of Endearment. Or maybe it’s The Notebook, or Steel Magnolias.
Ten out of 10 times, I cry my eyes out when Emma dies. I cry and I cry and I cry, and suddenly that cry turns into something else — it becomes personal. So then I cry a little more over whatever injustice life has brought upon me this time, and before I know it I’m not so sad anymore. Happiness comes.
At first, it seems backward to lean more into the crap feelings you’re having. How can that bring you closer to happiness?? Because those feelings will not truly leave you until you let them take up the space they need; this is the key to letting go. You may think you’re letting something go just by claiming, “I let go!” But did you, really? Or did you just bury it a little deeper so it can simmer a little longer?
Everything you feel has something to teach you; as Pema Chodron said, “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”
So, give it all the space you need. Cry over a sappy movie until the tears come from a personal pain you’ve been burying instead of processing. Let a tool as simple as a movie unlock you, and unblock you.
Now, what if I’m feeling ungrounded? I go find myself a stand-up paddle board. I highly recommend you try it! Change into your bikini (or boardshorts, or Speedo) and try doing a Sun Salutation on the water.
At this point you’re probably saying, “Yoga is hard enough as it is, why would you want to take your practice onto an 11-foot piece of wood in the middle of the ocean??” Standing on a wet surfboard in the middle of the ocean has to be the toughest way to try and find stability. Waves shaking the board, sun in your eyes, wind pushing you from side to side... It’s wobbly, your hands slide, and just standing up is a challenge. It’s the opposite of balance!
That is why I can’t think of anything else more ungrounding; it’s the perfect remedy to feeling grounded again.
Notice what you’re feeling, and lean in.
If you don’t have access to a paddle board, stand up where you are right now and balance on one foot. Or balance on your hands. Then, do it all with your eyes closed.
Whenever I teach balancing poses in a yoga class, I ask my students to close their eyes and go deeper into a place of stillness before we go into our trees and dancers. First, we need to find that place on the inside where everything is completely quiet. When we connect with that inner balance, Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana isn’t intimidating anymore.
However you’re challenging your balance, you might find that you hate it. You’ll certainly feel ungrounded and unbalanced. And that’s the point! As you go deeper into it, as you find the opposite, before you know it… Balance comes.
You’ll find that balance has absolutely nothing to do with the waves under your paddle board, the wind around you or how sweaty your palms are. External circumstances just show us what’s off on the inside. They’re messengers, they’re not culprits.
Balance comes from inside.
As you lean into the opposite of what you want, you’ll inevitably uncover a power deep within. You’ll see your ability to be however you choose to be. This is important! This means you can create whatever the hell you want for yourself. Like, happiness and groundedness, peace and love, unity and abundance, and everything else you desire to make your life whole and holy.
Method #2 to manifest the feeling you desire:
Don’t rely on other people to make you happy.
Your happiness depends entirely on you. Your life does not lie in the hands of the people around you or in the situation where you happen to find yourself in this moment.
You are not a victim on your circumstances, but rather a powerful being with a choice.
The question is: do you allow every ripple of the sea that is this life turn you upside down? Or can you find peace, knowing there is an ocean of calm beneath the surface of your life situation?
As long as you look at the world from the eyes of a victim, victimized is what you will be. Stop feeling sorry for yourself — get up and change something!
You can’t count on people to always treat you well or for the universe to always hand you the cards that you want.
You need to find a place inside of yourself where the ever-changing ebb and flow of life does not dictate your fundamental sense of peace.
It’s what you find after leaning into the sadness of a dramatic movie or the instability of yoga on the ocean… A deep, unwavering center that is always holding you with loving care.
So once you’ve leaned into that crap feeling that won’t seem to leave you, once you’ve reconnected to that divine center within, you are cleared and ready to act as if you already have what you want.
Practice peace, and peacefulness will come your way. Practice love, mindfulness, gratitude… And that is what your life will be made of.
You don’t have to wait for someone else to show you love for you to feel love. You don’t have to wait for someone else to put ground beneath your feet for you to feel stable. In fact, don’t wait! Where do you think those people would be manifesting those things from, anyway? If it can come from within themselves, it can (and absolutely does) come from within you, too.
You are an ocean of love. Stop treading water and enjoy the swim!
How are you going to use these methods today? Inspire our community by sharing it below!
Vegan Tom Yum Soup from The Yoga Girl® Kitchen
Even though the weather is getting warmer, this comforting, delicious hot and sour Tom Yum Noodle soup is so yummy it doesn’t matter what the temperature is outside. This is an easy soup to whip up and the leftovers will keep in the fridge for a week!
Gemini New Moon: She Who Tells the Story Tells It Best
Ask not what your country can do for you (they don’t care about you)… just think about how you can see this whole mess with a new set of lenses (quote by a Gemini (Kennedy) and then rewritten by a Gemini (Silverman)) (Who knew you can write a parenthesis inside a parenthesis?).