Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something that we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they’re meant to be.
Yoga VS Sustainable Lifestyle
Many yoga practitioners come to yoga as a kind of a quick fix.
One of the most common reasons people start with yoga is to offset stress. Some come to yoga after they've been through a major life change or challenge like a burnout, breakup, loss of a close person, searching for a new meaning in life or strength when they have none left.
My question is: are we coming to yoga hoping to use it as a band-aid or a quick fix? Or are we ready to face the reality that the way to long term shift in a positive direction lies in changing our lifestyles that are actually not sustainable?
I often discover that behind ongoing stress and health issues which bring people to yoga, are deep triggers. It can be a wrong job, an unhealthy diet, chronic lack of rest and sleep, a co-dependant/toxic/fill the gap relationship, a destructive character trait or bad habit that a person managed to justify, instead of dealing with it.
Until we change that, yoga will remain a short term solution.
Creating a sustainable lifestyle is definitely easier said than done. What comes to mind is a quote by Jersey Gregorek, "Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life". Until we gather the courage to actually face what's not sustainable about our lifestyles, what's draining us and preventing from feeling happy and fulfilled, until we take a decision to change that big thing, yoga or any form of spiritual practice will just continue to be a band-aid: helpful in the short term but futile in the long perspective.
So, I invite you to take a closer look: is yoga and meditation a means to re-claim a momentary sanity? Is it a chance to escape and look away from the areas in your life that really need your attention? Are you staying in a flat, job or relationship that is not sustainable and that is not working out for you because it seems to be easier to stay and suffer, than leave and re-build a life from scratch? Are you wasting your beautiful, wild and precious life away because it's "easier" not to deal with what you clearly need to change?
Ask yourself: what can you change today or in the nearest future that will infuse your life with more meaning and happiness, and, on top of that, as a chain reaction, improve the lives of your closest ones? What are the fears or insecurities that are stopping you?
Yoga retreats that I lead, are not just about yoga. We dive a lot deeper than that, and create a foundation for lasting lifestyle change. What is required on your part though, is dedication and bravery to keep up YOUR work during and after the retreat - in your life and on your mat. If you use yoga, meditation and retreating as tools to support a bigger process of internal transformation and building a sustainable lifestyle instead of relying on them as temporary quick fix, sky is the limit of what is possible.
If you are feeling overwhelmed after this post, start small. Go to bed an hour earlier than your usual time and get your rest. Roll out your mat and do your practice when you least feel like it. Create a "focus board" or go on a long walk with just yourself to get a bit more clarity where you are in life and where you'd like to be. Create a step-by-step plan for yourself and actually start that process of making your life and happiness sustainable.