This yoga instructor gives us the how-to on healing.
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Waking up and hitting the snooze button. Continually feeling tired throughout the day. There’s no spark, excitement, or passion, because quite honestly, every day feels like a homework assignment you don’t have the energy to do. You constantly feel behind—not just in your performance at work—but also in your relationships and connection to self. And then there’s stress.
Stress prevents you from being as productive as you once were, which often results in incomplete projects and an ever-growing to-do list. As hard as you try, it can sometimes feel like you just can't climb out from under the pile. This is what burnout can look like for many, and this growing epidemic is a thief that robs the world of passionate change agents, influencers, leaders, teachers, artists, and innovators.
The term “burnout” was coined in the 1970s by psychologist Herbert Freudenberger to describe severe stress and high ideals. Burnout has a wide range of symptoms—apathy and a sense of hopelessness being the #1 killer of joy. There’s this sense that nothing is going right or nothing matters. As the symptoms worsen, these feelings may become immobilizing, making it seems like "what's the point?"
If this sounds like you, you might feel perplexed, as you’ve done everything the experts say you should do. You tried sleeping longer hours, improving diet, taking time for yoga, and writing in a journal. You even seek refuge outside the city when you can to pick up the pieces of your own sanity. Yet, even after all the wishing and hoping (and a few too many cups of coffee) nothing seems to budge you to move forward in life.
I know first hand how exhausting it can be trying to move beyond the cycles of burnout. But why? I spent years as an entrepreneur feeling on top of the world when I was staying busy and getting things done. In hindsight, pushing hard all the time caused me to move from a state of lack. Somewhere in me was a strong belief that I am not enough. What I love has always been tangled up in my profession, so it became a blind spot. Until I was bumping up against burnout, it was hard to see my relationship with myself and work was the issue.
Hustling is aggressive, forceful, and most importantly, it’s a hurried approach to reach a goal or offer a service. Anytime you feel hurried you tend to be slightly out of alignment, no longer experiencing joy in the moment.
As I started to witness this in myself and shift away from the hustle, I was able to see that my days looked like a squirrel munching and hoarding acorns. However, every time I believed that I was breaking up with the hustle mentality, I found myself back at it again. Logic unconvinced that doing less or having faith was a step towards accomplishment.
I noticed many of the high achievers I've worked with have this strong belief that for one to be successful in life, you have to fill up your time with pushing through, constantly. Our brain works like a computer—programming gets inputted in from experiences, other individuals or society, and we start to identify as the software. We can live in logic, powering through and being practical, or on the other side of the spectrum wishful, waiting around hoping things will come to you. I’m here to tell you there is a place in between.
This middle path helps to make a change to occur in conformity with will. Our will is our most powerful tool which gives us the freedom to make choices. The human condition spins counter-clockwise, against the will of nature which causes us to feel negative and supports our inner dialogue that life is a struggle. Burnout is a result of the thoughts we are thinking, the forces behind our why. Do you stay busy to feel needed and special?
We can adopt as many affirmations and Jedi mind tricks as we’d like, but at the core of this epidemic lies our issue with self-worth. As I continue to discover this greater worthiness, the emotional charge to fight or deny fades. There is a way to serve others while meeting my own needs and living an abundant life. I just needed to get out of my own way first. Energetic healing and training handed down through ancient mystery school tradition has been the strongest catalyst to achieve this state in my life. Tools to shift perception supported me in seeing motivations and blocks I was previously unaware of.
Like any pattern or program wired in us, it takes time to break down a system and implement a new version. This world can be our playground to learn, grow, and try new things if we allow ourselves time to stop constantly striving.
Waking up and for once, preemptively turning off the snooze button. Continually feeling a lightness at work, in a flow state– tinges of spark, excitement, and passion bubbling through, just because. You feel in the right place at the right time, and the right amount of pressure empowers you to trust the middle path.
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
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