Today I heard, for the thousandth time, Baz Luhrmann’s song “Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen”. And oh my how much of it clicked right away. Now in my mid thirties I appreciate it even more than before. I mean, this song is so yogi on so many levels.
“Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly”
So true in the nineties and truer today in the social media blast era.
The principal of Santosha in yoga works here.
Santosha is one of 5 personal behavior advises.
Those 5 behaviors are called Niyamas- second out of 8 limbs of yoga.
It talks about being content with what we have.
In this context, there’s no need to crave for someone else’s appearance,
copy their body shape or longing for possessions such as creams and cosmetics we didn’t know a minute ago we need.
Being satisfied with ourselves and all we got doesn't mean to give up hopes and dreams. It’s possible to be happy with our physical appearance, our body’s shape, the number of years we aged or kilos gained *and* strive to benefit ourselves, gain knowledge, improve our strength and flexibility, social skills etc.
We grow from challenges.
Criticism and self loathing prevents us from growing and daring, enjoying the journey and generally keep us under the rock.
Same goes with “Don’t waste your time on jealousy”.
There’s no need to become something we are not when we are satisfied with ourselves and all we got.
“The race is long and in the end, only with yourself”
On a personal level, it’s so easy for me to relate to this advice.
I was expected to excel at everything I do.
Those expectations translated to
me being very competitive.
I felt like I had to get straight A’s at school,
winning medals in gymnastics and being the first one to cross the finishing line in races.
I loved the rush but never was relaxed,
I was nervous as hell during competitions and was focused only on results, not enjoying the process, fearing the future.
Years later, thanks to constant yoga practice,
I learned to let go of other’s expectations and stopped being so harsh on myself.
And actually my achievements haven’t diminished.
They just come along as part of a fun journey where I'm the captain of my ship.
I choose not to stress myself out.
I still run, enjoying the wind on my face without a watch.
I grow professionally without the need to compare myself to others with different backgrounds, talents or just pure luck :)
This understanding sets me free to enjoy whatever I do without the feeling that it’s not enough.
As a yoga teacher, I emphasize that the progress can be compared to yourself only and shouldn’t be forced but done with humbleness.
We’re handed different cards in life, and only can make the best of our given circumstances.
Couldn't be more self-explanatory, but I just want to emphasize the importance of stretching.
A lot of people think stretching is just something one does before or after their main exercise. But there’s so much more to it.
Stretching improves joint range of motion. Without working on moving a joint through its full range of motion the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when we engage in any muscle activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way.
Growing old, stretching can help delay reduced mobility, keeping up our quality of life.
Stretching improves performance in physical activities.
Stretching shortens recovery time after physical effort by increasing blood flow to our muscles.
We can improve our posture by stretching (and strengthening) specific muscle groups, and so reduce musculoskeletal pain, correct muscle imbalances and encourage proper alignment.
Stretching heals and prevents back pain.
It just feels great, relieves stress and calms the mind!