To stay balanced, we need to talk more about the simplification of choices. In our culture we get overwhelmed because we CAN do so much. We are educated, we have access to resources and thus we could achieve our dreams if we choose to dedicate our time and efforts to them.
So why aren’t we? Why are we so scattered and anxious when it comes to the future? Why do we feel like we are always falling behind?
Ayurvedically speaking, too many choices causes our vata to go out of whack. Vata imbalance makes us feel shaky, lonely, insecure. Vata goes out of balance when we get overwhelmed and causes us to fritter away our energy on the unessential. We stay extra busy, get really tired yet feel like we aren’t getting anywhere.
It gets worse when we are afraid of making the wrong choice. Our fear paralyzes us and we do nothing, which takes a surprising amount of energy. Then we get frustrated with ourselves for not making the most of our lives. It’s a tough, draining cycle!
Being in Peru reminded me that most places in the world don’t have the opportunities we have here in the West. It’s a big privilege and an enviable one. Yet it’s wise to realize all that opportunity can come with a big cost–our sense of peace and grounding.
I’ve worked on healing my own vata imbalance over these past years. My consistent, although often unsexy advice is to set up a solid daily routine that includes your basic self care. Then stick to it 70% of the time. Knowing how you will spend most of your day, most of the time will free up the energy you need to make your most important choices with clarity and confidence.
The best place to start is by establishing a solid morning routine for yourself. To get started, attend my workshop at Yoga District on establishing a morning routine and check out my blog posts on why morning routine helps you become powerful + how I spend the first hour of morning. Think about what your ideal morning routine would contain. Exercise? Meditation? Time to just sit and be?
Then narrow that habit down to one clear action and automate it. You automate the habit by attaching it to another habit you are doing anyway. For example, as soon as you finish brushing your teeth, sit directly down on your meditation cushion. Or say five things you are grateful for as you grind your coffee (somehow we never forget the coffee). My favorite habit tweak is to put on my tea kettle instead of hitting snooze. It’s reminder to drink warm water right away and that tea whistle really gets me out of bed the second time.
So yes, automation is the key to good habits. I’ve practiced my morning routine so many times by now that I don’t even have to think of it. I can go on autopilot as I scrape my tongue, splash my face with cold water and sit down at my altar to meditate. If I feel crappy upon waking, going through my automated habits makes me feel better. If I wake up feeling pretty good, my automated habits take me into feeling great.
Often people ask me if I get bored by doing the same thing every day. I respond that there are so many life decisions I can’t automate or anticipate. Sometimes they are fun decisions and sometimes they are really hard. Having set habits, beginning with a strong morning routine, ensures that I have the grounding and energy I need to make these unexpected decisions with a clear head and open heart. This is anything but boring.
The incredible yoga instructor Kia Miller once said that she didn’t know true freedom until she found discipline. I couldn’t agree more. For years, the “shoulds” and even the “coulds” of life drained my energy like a hole in a bucket. Now my routine gives me the integrity of actual doing a thing and for that I am rewarded on a daily basis with the beauty of my own life pouring forth.
Workshop: Create a Dynamic Morning Routine w/Gracy
Sunday, October 4
Yoga District Bloomingdale Studio
For more tips on creating a mourning route, check out my blog.