Last week our intention was to have a grounding practice that focused on the Earth element. I felt that this was necessary due to some feelings of high/jittery/excited energy after the Clarity fundraiser the weekend before (mainly from myself!). But moreover, this type of practice is important at the moment because we cannot deny that the beginnings of a very hectic and over-stimulating time of year are definitely now upon us, and we need a bit of grounding to help us cope with it.
So speaking of coping, I’d like to bring some attention back to mental health again this week.
Over the weekend, I spent some time on a “family yoga break” organised by my yoga parents Dan and Gemma Peppiatt! Ironically, most of the people there were actually strangers to me, but being yogis, it didn’t take long for us to form a family bond (possibly aided by not spending much time actually practicing physical “yoga”, but instead focusing our energies on drinking wine, rum and prosecco, and eating copious amounts of food - my kind of people!!)
During this time, as the connections began to form and the boundaries and inhibitions started to fall away, I found myself having some very profound and personal conversations with some of these individuals. I felt comfortable opening up to these strangers because; 1) they were yogis so I knew they would totally understand and listen to me without judgement, and 2) talking about how you feel and your own anxieties and issues has become much less of a taboo these days, and can actually help during the healing process (as mentioned at the fundraiser).
“It’s OK to not be OK” was a slogan written on the t-shirt of someone who’s mental health problems almost resulted in devastating consequences (explained to me by a friend just before the fundraiser). It became somewhat of a mantra for this person, as it should most of us with or without a “mental health issue”.
It reminds us of exactly that – that it is OK to feel a bit cr*p sometimes, and it is also OK to open up and talk about it.
Although yoga teaches us that it is extremely important to put our own feelings in to perspective, and to practice gratitude for the things that we have and are able to do that others may not be so lucky to, we all feel down sometimes!! It is perfectly normal. That is actually probably why most of us practice yoga. Because we want to feel better. We want to feel physically, emotionally and mentally stronger, healthier and happier! In a room full of yogis, probably 99% of them have some personal sh*t going on, and that is why they are there!!
For me personally, I feel pressure as a yoga facilitator to look and come across a certain way. This pressure comes from nobody else besides myself! It exists within me, not out there. And I know that. But sometimes, even if I seem like I’ve got it all figured out, and I’m preaching contentment, self- love and acceptance to everyone else, it can be that the very opposite is happening for me, and I go through periods of anxiety, self-doubt and struggle too.
So this week take some time to tell yourself that “it’s OK to not be OK”, and do not give yourself a hard time for feeling a little out of sorts sometimes.
(and if you are actually OK, that’s fine too!)