Life in a big city like London has become all about efficiency, speed and results. Multi-tasking is an essential skill nowadays.
There doesn’t seem to be any time left for stillness or simple moments of calm, which can very often lead to stress, fatigue and lack of energy. We have all been there at some point. If we are lucky, we are able to somehow keep a balance and regulate stress levels, but usually, things have to get really bad before we realise that we need to make some changes in our lives.
Taking some time for yourself regularly is so important and can make such a difference to the quality of life. For example, if you can go to a weekly class of yoga or meditation (or anything you enjoy really), that’s a great start. But there are also plenty of de-stress techniques you can easily do on your own, at home or even during a five minute break in the office. I teach both yoga and meditation, and often students ask me how they can develop a home-practice, as they feel they can’t do anything without a teacher guiding them. There almost seems to be a fear of failure, which maybe comes from living in a culture of high expectations. But really, it’s quite easy. I often tell people to just do a little “mini yoga”, which could be to simply sit still for five minutes and breathe. If you did that every day, you’d be surprised what difference it would make.
To start with, don’t be worried about having to sit properly, perfectly straight with legs in a pretzel. One of the most important things is to be comfortable. So maybe you prefer to lean against a wall, or to kneel, or to sit on a chair. If you are not comfortable, you will not be able to let go of any physical tension and to relax, which means your mind will not rest either. And feel free to try different things here, until you find your favourite position.
The other important thing is to give up any expectations. When we give ourselves the chance to be a bit quieter, it means we can check in with ourselves. Naturally this means that different things might come up. One day being quiet might bring a sense of peace, and another day it could surface emotions we didn’t expect. All we can do is to just listen. With a regular practice you will start to become more and more aware of your own inner rhythm of life. Be curious, as it can tell you a lot.
Some of us find it easier to use some form of method to help us rest the mind. There are plenty to choose from, and I can only advise to have a go at different techniques. For some people it helps to concentrate on an object, such as a candle, for some visualisations work well, and others like to focus more on the physical and include some movement in their practice. It’s all good. Have some fun exploring.