Have you ever felt stuck? Like you simply don’t know which way to turn? Like the world is rushing by you, and you’ve been left behind? We’ve all felt that at one time or another and it can happen in our relationships, in our career, or in any other aspect of life. The word “stuck” implies a lack of movement, and that is exactly what happens when we find ourselves in this frame of mind.
None of us exist in a vacuum; in fact, all things can only exist and thrive in relationship to something else—a flower needs the bee to pollinate and reproduce, and the bee needs pollen to make honey. In our lives too, there is this kind of give and take. It takes both parties working together to build a healthy relationship.
As individuals, we are in constant give and take between our mind and our bodies. The Divine Principle says:
“All created beings, regardless of their level of complexity, possess an intangible internal nature, which corresponds to the human mind, and a tangible external form, which corresponds to the human body. Within each being, the internal nature, which is causal and subject, commands the external form. This relationship allows the individual being to exist and function purposefully as a creation of God.”
In other words, we are both a mind and a body, and the healthy give and take between the two is what helps us to thrive and live a purposeful life. When our mind is engaged in healthy give and take with our body, we feel healthier physically, and spiritually, allowing us to make better choices and live with integrity as explained on the Insights Page. When the flow of energy gets broken or slowed, this is when we can sometimes feel stuck.
Lessons from Yoga
The ancient practice of Yoga is a good example of this dual relationship. The first yogis understood the unique relationship between our physical bodies and our spiritual soul; that they work together in give and take. Yoga was cultivated not just as a physical practice, but a spiritual one. Sometimes, it takes moving our bodies to help get us through a mental block, and the determination of our mind is what allows us to push our own physical limitations.
There are many different kinds of Yoga, but one of the unifying components is the focus on the breath. Pranayama, a yogic practice that focuses on controlling the breath, can literally be translated to: “extension of the life force”. The breath is necessary for life, and it too, has a dual aspect of give and take, inhale and exhale. The breath is what grounds us in the present; it makes us focus on the here and now and connects our physical bodies to our inward state. Often, when encountering a new or difficult pose, the proper breathing is what makes the difference. In our lives too, when we take a moment to connect with our inner world, it can help us to stretch and bend to confront new and challenging situations.
When you feel stuck in some area of your life, try to first focus inward. Are your mind and body having healthy and vibrant give and take? Get that energy flowing within yourself. Then, use that momentum to tackle your other relationships and situations.
If you’re a seasoned yogi, or even a complete beginner, these are some simple Asanas (poses) that can help with different aspects of your physical and spiritual wellbeing:
Restorative: When you need to quiet your mind and relax the body. These poses are also great for focusing on and connecting with your breath.
Stretching to exceed your limits: letting your body physically twist or bend in a way that it wouldn’t normally, helps us to see new perspectives and possibilities. You may even feel empowered and amazed by the things you never knew your body could do! Use that energy to help give you confidence during change or stressful situations, and don’t forget to breathe!
“Open up the heart”: In a yoga class you’ll often hear the phrase, “Open up the heart”, which literally means opening your arms or shoulders, to expose the chest cavity. Not only is it a great stretch, but it corresponds to the concept of vulnerability, and being open to receive love and the blessings of life.
Confidence and Strength. When we do a standing pose like Mountain pose, our feet are planted firmly on the ground with shoulders back, and we connect to that image of strength, confidence, and steadfastness of a tall mountain. Ground yourself in inner strength with these poses.
Incorporate these practices into your daily life, both through the physical practice of yoga and in the daily situations that require focus, challenge you to leave your comfort zone, evoke care and love, and would benefit from bold confidence.
For more perspective on the value of getting active, review the first part of the series, Get Active: Just Do It.