This feeling of being stuck, trapped, is a feeling I had for several years and that I know well. There was not really anyone to blame for it, except myself! The responsibility, the need to be in control, this 110% commitment I felt I had to give to the children, family, home, combined with a feeling of unfairness for not being able to do what I wanted was hanging over me. Maybe you know this too? Luckily for me that feeling is gone now, but I can completely relate to people who find themselves in this situation today.
By practising yoga and mindfulness on a regular basis, I was able get out of my little (big!) hole. And of course the fact that my two children got older and my marriage was coming to an end played a crucial part too… 😜
It is pretty powerful when you realise that you have a choice in every situation you’re in. You can say yes or no, you can speak or decide to stay quiet, you can stay or leave, you can react with anger or respond with compassion, you can decide to voice your opinion or not, you can park your car this way or that way, you can decide if you want to be friends with someone or not, you can even choose to sit at another place at the dinner table!! Or choose to go on a different mat in your yoga class (just warning you, that may cause a bit of a stir in the room). You get the point, you do not have to be, say or act in your habitual way, which can be described as being on automatic pilot, you are actually allowed to make a choice in every situation you are in.
More and more it amazes me how everything I learn by meditating and practising yoga can be applied to the way I live. Often, I find new ways of doing things, suddenly choices pop up. I smile when I realise that this sense of being more creative and open to new ways of seeing and doing things often comes from my meditation and yoga practice. Here’s how it may happen:
When meditating: After having been sitting still for a certain length of time, there might be some discomfort in your body. You get to choose: changing your position, or staying with the discomfort you might be noticing. In case you decide to stay still, you can choose to bring kindness and curiosity to that uncomfortable feeling. Or you can choose to bring awareness to your breathing. Options for not allowing the discomfort to take over! It’s your choice. Do you see it? You get to choose how you want to deal with your mind telling you there’s something wrong that needs to be fixed. You can always check-in with yourself by asking “what feels best for me right now?” and go from there.
When practising yoga postures: There are modifications to every yoga posture. Perhaps you prefer to keep your knees flexed and heels off the mat in downward dog, perhaps you’d rather have one knee on the mat when in a lunge. Or maybe your energy levels that day tell you it is best to stay in child pose when everyone else around you is moving. Here as well, you get to choose, and you choose by going inside, really listening to what feels right for your body, in this moment.
So here’s a question for you: How often do you really check-in with yourself? In case your answer is closer to zero, no need to beat yourself up! Perhaps you are like most of us, doing a lot of things on automatic pilot, not realising you can do things differently. And coming back to the feeling of being trapped and perhaps wanting to change, you can start small. Park you car in the opposite direction in the car park or driveway, look up at the sky instead of your feet, anything that changes your perspective. And by doing so, noticing how it feels, how you are moving more into life, opening up for new experiences. It can be super-enriching. Wishing you well! X
I run weekly mindfulness and yoga classes in Wimbledon. Join me to work on your “awareness muscle”! I can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.