When I decided to leave my career behind as an overseas sales assistant for an International Logistics company I had no idea what was ahead of me. What I did know is that I wasn't happy. I wasn't happy because I had constant anxiety about trivial daily things, I wasn't sleeping well, I had this constant feeling of doubts, emptiness and a lack of purpose in life. So I felt like I needed a change.
Do you identify yourself with the story above? You're not alone! I think at some point we all start questioning our lives, what we do, for what we do, are we happy, etc. For sure thi revolution of newer generations of living life with more purpose was something unimaginable to our parents or grandparents. Back then people were content to be able to make ends meet.
We seem to have more career choices and lifestyle options than ever. But also we seem to be more lost and less happy. More than ever people in first world countries, who supposedly have better lives, better education, better health care and access to comfort & commodities, suffer from mental health issues. Anxiety disorders, depression, fibromyalgia, to name a few of these common mental health issues in this century. While poor and developing countries are mainly worried about their means of survival, it makes us question ourselves, is more money and more things really the key to happiness?
If achieving a university degree for some, or buying a house and having kids, for others, doesn't bring you happiness, satisfaction, self-realisation and peace of mind, then what will? That's the answer I set out to look for when I decided to become a Yoga teacher. And this is what I discovered along those years of studies, traveling, meeting different teachers and people all around the world, going through my own pains and all:
happiness has little to do with what you have
happiness is a state of mind
mindfulness will bring you joy and appreciation of the littlest things in life
learning how to deal with your emotions will make difficult moments less difficult
being in harmony with your environment make things flow better
having positive habits sets out for a positive life
personal development tools will help you with all of the above but you need the below to make it happen..
having time for yourself is ESSENTIAL for your wellbeing
But what is personal development you might be asking yourself, and what that has to do with yoga? Personal development is a life long process to be the best version of yourself, in all areas of your life. That is not to be confused with perfection, it has more to do with living your best life according to your own values, having purpose and finding happiness in your choices. So this, as you can see, might be VERY different for everyone.
Yoga is a great philosophy to lay your path for personal growth. It gives you tools to get out of your mind and get in touch with yourself. Because first question you need to ask yourself is: what is my purpose and mission in life? And the second is: is my life aligned with my values? For many years (17 more or less) yoga has been a lifestyle to me. From all the many lessons I learned, the most important has been mindfulness. I am far from nailing the art of being present, but even when I'm not present I am conscious and aware I am not, you know what I mean? This has helped me to slowly start building my path to a life that's more aligned with my core values, and to get back in track when I realised I'm a bit out of tune with myself.
But yoga is not the only personal development tool you will find, there are many ways to grow as a person. Take life experiences for example, when you learn from your experience this can be quite transforming! I have recently come across the teachings of psychology and neurolinguistics programming and have been actively incorporating these tools to specially learn how to better deal with my emotions.
What all of this really comes down to is the valuable lesson of knowing that happiness is an internal state, and relying on external situations will most likely make you vulnerable to the ups and downs in life. It's more about how you face life than what happens to you.
Some key things that help me in my journey are:
time is an invaluable asset, I cannot tell you enough how important it is to make time for yourself
bring more mindfulness to your life, that doesn't mean you need to sit in meditation everyday, but try to be present in everything you do
chose your input wisely, what you chose to watch and read, and the people you chose to have in your life have a major impact to you
keep on learning, and investing in yourself, but most importantly learn to be kind and patient to yourself like you are with your friends :)
If you want to learn more about personal development you can join us for one of our retreats.
You can learn more about it here.