I’m 29 now and up until 2 years ago, I never really dealt with grief. When I was young, one of my aunts passed away from cancer, but my parents didn’t tell me about her because I didn’t really know her, and they thought it would be best not to ‘scare’ me. I come from a Chinese family, so open and honest communication was not a strength. In my mid 20’s Both my grandfathers passed away. They both lived in China so I really didn’t see them or talk to them much growing up. I was sad, yes, but for the most part, I was okay. It was easy to push it out of my mind and not think about it because it was all happening so far away.
Fast forward to November 2016, I was notified of a tragic passing. A family friend’s son had passed away. He was only 14 years old, and I had known him his whole life. I babysat him, our families would get together and they would come over for some Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas dinners. The hardest part was finding out he committed suicide - I just couldn’t understand.
Just like before, no one in my family really wanted to talk about it. Death was not a topic to be discussed and certainly not suicide. I didn’t talk to my friends about it much either, because I really didn’t know what to say. I guess in a lot of ways, I never learned how to talk about my feelings growing up. I felt like a heartless robot because I couldn’t even shed a tear; I just felt so empty inside.
All this happened to coincide with the start of my practicing yoga. At the first class I took a few days after finding out the news, I got something I didn’t get anywhere else. I got ’space’.
Clair Lalande from www.doyouyoga.com described space as this:
“We create space in our minds during meditation … by quieting our minds and freeing a lot of the thoughts and worries that we keep there….We also have to create room in our self-practice to listen to ourselves.”
In the busy-ness of life, my mind needed space to let go of all the distractions I had. Thinking about work, bills and other commitments just allowed me to ignore my own feelings. I created space by practicing yoga and not thinking about anything else. I just listened to the instruction of the teacher and moved through all the poses. Each deep breath felt like a sigh of relief, letting go of something I didn’t need to hold on to. At the end of class during the past posture, Savasana, I noticed a few tears streaming down my cheeks. It was all the pent up and unconscious emotion coming through.
For the next few classes, I decided to set an intention dedicating that day’s practice to his life. It sounds silly to dedicate a practice in honour of someone who passed away, but what else could I do? I wanted to help help the family but they just wanted to be left alone - I wasn’t even allowed to attend the funeral. By dedicating my practice to him, I felt like I could at least honour his memory in some way. Whether or not it was just in my head, somehow I felt close to him during my practices, and for me, that’s what helped me grieve.
I started practicing yoga because I heard about all the physical benefits, but I didn’t realize how it could help me get in touch with myself mentally and emotionally. I encourage everyone in my life to give it a try because our lives are always so busy that we forget to make space for ourselves. It’s important to check in with yourself often because things can get push to the back of your mind, and that’s not the healthiest thing to do.
If you’re struggling with something, give yoga a try. What’s the worst that could happen, right?
PS. If you are fairly new to yoga, it’s important to try different classes with different teachers! Every class will focus on a different aspect, and every teacher will teach differently. I was very lucky to have been with teachers who gave me exactly what I needed when I first started yoga, but take your time
Procrastination is common and something that some of us do daily whether or not we want to or not. At home we might be procrastinating to complete house chores. As a student we might be procrastinating to do homework and assignments. At work we might be procrastinating to complete projects until the due date. We also procrastinate to work on our personal goals and interests. Why is it that we procrastinate?
I am going to share my stories and my thoughts on why I think people procrastinate. What are the small things that we can change about ourselves to help reduce this habit? I believe there could be many reasons for procrastination but from my personal experience I came up with three reasons.
Lack of Prioritization and Organization
I wanted to start a blog since the end of 2016 and I set a verbal goal with a close friend that I will have a blog before June 2017. It is now March 2018. I have procrastinated for nearly 1.5 years and finally I am posting! “WHERE DID TIME GO?!” Luckily, back in November 2017 I found out that Angela also wanted to write a blog so we decided we will do it together. Even then, we didn’t start working on our blog until February 2017 due to other priorities such as family and friend gatherings. After the busy winter season, Angela and I decided actually make our blog a reality and we sat down to organize our thoughts and what we wanted to write about. We created a planner to help us organize our posting topics, posting dates, and meeting schedule. Organization and planning was the key to helping us move forward.
I learned that if you want something bad enough you need to write it down and strategize a plan to make it achievable. Simply stating your goals and not actually creating actions means that it wasn’t that important and it will lead you to no results. So when you really want to do something, put it into your priority list and organize a plan to execute it.
Not Having Enough Energy
Many scientific studies have shown that exercising can help a person feel better mentally and physically. I agree with this 100%! I worked in a fast food restaurant chain for ten years and recently swapped it for an office job. Instead of running around for 8-12 hours straight, I now sit for a minimum of 6 hours staring at the computer and I find it surprisingly more draining and tiresome. When I get home, I have so many other things I want to do but the majority of the time, things either go undone or I procrastinate because I’m drained from sitting at a desk. After working in an office job for 1.5 years I have decided that I need to maintain an active lifestyle to boost my energy. I started practicing yoga in September 2017 consistently and I noticed my overall energy is much better! I am less tired and more alert which drives me to be more proactive with the things I want to do.
No Incentive Get it Done
Lastly, I find that I procrastinate to do certain tasks because I don’t find value in completing them or I don’t get any instant gratification from it. For example, I often put off weekly laundry until I literally am on my last pair of underwear. It’s probably one of the easiest things to do since it requires little to no energy, plus the machine does the actual work. So for me to do this task, I decided to reward myself with two hours of TV time to relax and let the laundry run its course. Another example here is me as a student. I procrastinate to complete my assignments either the day before of the day of the due date. Now I try to set goals and give myself little treats so that I prioritize time to complete the assignments earlier. Sometimes it would be as simple as having a specialty coffee instead of regular coffee. I am not saying to reward yourself for every task you do but a little reward does help to get the process started.
Procrastination exists every day and even when we are more self-aware of our own procrastination, we can still have a tendency do it. The next time you procrastinate think of why. Could it be a lack of organization, low energy, and/or you simply need to find an incentive to do it? Laziness (even though we deserve rest) should not be the excuse of our inaction. Hopefully, my post will bring a little change in your lifestyle.