A few days ago, I sat down to prepare my lesson plan for next week, and I found myself completely drained and at a loss for inspiration.
A week ago, I brought home a beautiful, loving, and energetic four-month-old puppy that we adopted from the Wisconsin Humane Society. I waited years to adopt a dog, and I knew I wanted a running partner. I took the time to read all about dogs, and my husband and I had her name, Juno, picked out for months. I wrote my goal on a 2014 vision board, and every morning on my run, I imagined my future dog running by my side.
I was prepared, experienced, and ready to be the perfect dog parent.
A week later, was so exhausted that I began ranking the furniture I didn't care about as much, just because I didn't have the energy to stop Juno from chewing everything in sight.
Right now I average 5 hours of sleep per night, and I spend every waking moment with her when I am not at work. I am constantly working to make sure she does not chew people, other important things, or me, ranked in that order.
After a long week of minimal self-focus, I was able to sneak away Saturday morning for a yoga class focused on breath and core strength with Haley at Haleybird Studios in Wauwatosa. While getting back into my body for the first time in days, it took me half of the class to realize I didn't need to look around everywhere to monitor a dog that might pee or chew an electrical cord. I took a big breath and started to sink into my practice, feeling my own needs again.
During savasana, I felt like I just experienced an energetic tune up, at peace and noticing my breath for the first time in days. I returned home refreshed, ready to say ‘I love you’ to my beautiful dog, and incredibly supportive husband.
I am not a parent, and I understand one week of having a puppy is nothing compared to having an infant, but it also gave me a big reality check. We all need a moment each day to check in and realign our own energy before giving to others.
I looked to the Yamas and Niyamas (Restraints and observances) of yoga to help me understand how I could better find balance. I found myself re-reading an amazing book by Deborah Adele (while Juno chewed my chair).
In ‘The Yamas and Niyamas, Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice’ Deborah has genuine, personal examples of each restrain and observances in her own personal life. The chapter that spoke to me this week was about Svadhyaya – Self Study.
As parents, teachers, children, and employees, we give of ourselves until there is hardly anything left. We have the best plans and intentions, but forget to reserve time to tap into who we are behind the labels, projections, and ego. This leaves us ragged, feeling unappreciated, and takes joy away from everything, even something we have been wanting for years.
Svadhyaya is an important building block of our yoga study…more important than any posture. Through self-study we realize the perceptions we have that shape our world. If we begin to peel back the layers, we will realize we are more than our mind chatter and expectations.
How can you begin practicing Svadhyaya?
After spending some time on my own Svadhyaya (Self Study), I was back in the flow and created a fun heating class focused on core strength (Third Chakra, Personal Power) to help my students tap into their own self study practice, with an opening reflection and closing meditation.
If you are interested in attending my class focused on this Niyama, please join me at 6:30 pm on Monday, April 7th at the WAC Downtown.
Also, if you enjoyed this post, please write a comment about your own self study and what has helped you find more peace and balance in your life.