Today I feel like shit. Yesterday really sucked more than a high school slut. I studied for 4 hours, worked for 10 hours, no break no lunch, then went home and did 3 more hours of homework.
I want you to know just because this blog is about happiness, it doesn’t mean that I have days that totally suck balls. But what’s important is recognizing these negative feelings, and proactively searching ways to turn them into something more productive and/or positive.
What you do when you are stressed out can really contribute to your overall outlook in life. Like when I am stressed, I sometimes go out and get hammered, and by the time the hang over comes around, I just pretend I feel like shit because of the hang over, then once that subsides, I feel better overall. But other times, I go run my ass off, or go do yoga and meditate.
Although I think the getting-drunk-and-recover method worked pretty well in college, now I am trying to channel my negative energy through more positive and productive methods.
So.. today I am totally going to do yoga! I started doing yoga when I totaled my car once upon a time (oh the tough life of an Asian female girl I tell you) and hurt my back a little. I did not respond well to all these muscle relaxers so I snuck into a yoga class at a 24 hour gym near my house. I used to be the most non flexible person ever, and I was really embarrassed (because there is absolutely nothing sexy about a girl who can’t even touch her toes) but sometimes putting yourself in the most uncomfortable place is the best way to grow as a person. And this is exactly what yoga did for me (and now I can touch my toes!). Besides yoga’s physical benefits, such as flexibility and toning, I fell in love with yoga’s mental and spiritual benefits.
I used to be really religious back in the day. I grew up super-duper Catholic, and I used to have dreams about the Virgin Mary and shit (ya, slightly .. uh weird). But in my mid-teen years, one of my really close family members attempted suicide. With the grounded belief that people who commit suicide go to hell according to Catholicism, after this tragic incidence, I slowly distanced myself from religion altogether. To me, she was a survivor, and I was thankful that she was alive. Any religion that tried to make me believe that this person was going to hell was not acceptable by me.
For a while, I did my own thing and by trial-and-error, I started to create my own set of moral system, such as stealing is bad, helping is good, ditching class when there is a test is bad, drinking is good, drinking and driving is bad, etc. Later on, it did get a little bit more complex, such as living to help otheres, searching for ways to self-improve, etc. But still, I was still yearning for a set of ethical guideline that was a little bit more solid to rely on.
Then I discovered yoga. As I said, I had fallen in love with it. Recently, with my roommate, I decided to pursue my 200 hour -RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) training program. I started taking some intense yoga classes and learned more about the philosophy there. Then I found exactly waht I was looking for: a set of life guidelines that did not judge anyone.
They are the Yamas & Niyamas. They are basically the 10 commandments for yogis. It is the most beautiful set of moral guidelines I have ever encountered, and they look something like this:
The Yamas: derives from the root word “yam” – “to rule/control.” Therefore, these 5 ideals represent the negative tendencies that individuals are encouraged to control, such as any animal/instinctive behaviors that could occur in all human beings: (in italics… this is what I interpret these as)
1. Ahimsa: non- violence… acting kindly and problem solving with words and love..
2. Satya: truth.. being honest to yourself and others… and being genuine towards the world with my actions, thoughts, and emotions
3. Asteya: non-stealing/cheating… practicing fidelity and being respectful of others’ materialistic “stuff”… only taking credit for what I truly deserve to
4. Brahmacharya: self-restraint and moderation… not taking life to extreme in negative directions
5. Aparigraha: non-coveting, no jealousy, or unhealthy competitiveness… not being overtly envious of others… eliminating greed
The Niyamas : things we can strive to achieve within ourselves
6. Sauca: purity ..you can contaminate your body in many ways… drinking, drugs, thinking impure thoughts, having negative outlook, being jealous, being malicious… etc. I may be still guilty of being pure from drinking, I try to be mindful of some polluting thoughts in my head…
7. Santosha: contentment… being happy with the present, what you have, what you are, just being overall satisfied with the moment as of now. Putting regrets in the past, and putting worries in the future.. what matters is right now.This one really puts me at ease and helps me relax.
8. Ishavara Pranidhana: surrender.. some yoga theorists state that this is surrending and devoting to “God”… but I’d like to translate this as surrending to a higher being, and the complete belief that there is someone up there who will reward you for being a good person.. this could also mean surrendering to the fact that life is a journey, and not everything will always be perfect, but believing the ultimate good nature of this world
9. Tapas: discipline… knowing what we want, and putting efforts towards that positive change
10. Svadhyaya: study of self…ultimately, understanding one’s own identity can be the most satisfying achievement as an individual
Beautiful ain’t it?
We also learn how to be inclusive of everyone in the world. Using inviting and inclusive language is extremely helpful. You should try this… instead of saying, “I want you to..” say, “I invite you to… or let’s.” Instead of saying “don’t do this…” say, “let’s be mindful…”
Even if it’s something negative, such as if you want space from someone, instead of saying “I don’t want this person in my life” maybe, “I am inviting space between this person and I” (haha try saying that to your girlfriend or boy friend you are trying to break up with… jk).
But really.. the philosophy of yoga is more than just an hour of work out. For me, it is a lifestyle and the foundation of my spirituality.
And I will say, I feel 1043534 times better now after writing this post. My day is less shitty and more shiney.. Yayyy! Today I practiced turning my negative energy into something positive through writing and sharing my ideas with you guys. Thank you for allowing me to transform my energy into something better today.