The sun was gleaming through the winter morning raindrops, everyone bustling around in scarves, gloves and no doubt, thermals. London in January feels like the arctic, especially having just returned from Florida. Perched on my bench watching my 4-year-old daughter scootering her way around the obstacle park, fully engrossed in the task at hand, oblivious to the weather, and laughing from the pit of her stomach as another scooter cut her up, it got me thinking (the deep-dive kind of thinking).
If I had five minutes to give my future grandchildren some pearly wisdom before departing this good world, what would I tell them? What would you tell them? Many of us would say things like: laugh a lot, don’t take life too seriously, spend more time with loved ones, be kind, be compassionate, follow your heart, be generous, forget what others think, sing away and dance like no one's watching, for example. All such great advice - but are we actually living this way ourselves?
Often we behave in ways we regret (very soon after!!!). Like losing our temper, lacking patience, holding grudges, being self-righteous, feeling jealous, gossiping, and having addictive behaviors. By taking life too seriously, we miss the fun and magic. So the question is HOW do we live this great advice? How do we live happy, fulfilled and heartfelt lives? What is needed for these beautiful seeds to grow in one’s proverbial garden? It’s all about the soil. If we select seeds of love, compassion, fun, kindness (quality seeds) and scatter them over dry lumpy soil…they will struggle to live, if at all. So we need to prepare and nourish the ground for greatness.
Your health is your soil! When your body is vibrant and filled with energy, your mind reflects its wellbeing, your thinking crystallizes and your ability to be happy, positive and live your dreams becomes easy.
The four foundations needed for cultivating your best epic life possible are simple (almost too simple).
1. Eat well
2. Sleep well
3. Exercise Daily
4. Meditate Daily
(And from this place, any seeds you wish to sow will abundantly grow!)
In "The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali" (the bible of yoga) they speak of “Svadhyaya” a Sanskrit word meaning self-study, as a way of life. We need to tune in to our bodies and figure out what works best for us. I remember becoming a vegetarian in a meat-eating South African family. My father was so confused by the whole episode he began making dishes that camouflaged any trace of meat and would proudly announce, "Ok Chuckles, (as he called me) you will not even taste the meat in this”. He thought it was the taste I didn't like. It never occurred to him that I may not actually want to eat meat.
Everyone is unique. Some people’s bodies work well with meat and some don’t; some people love running and for others it’s torture. We cannot all work from the same textbook. Each of us must discover what works for his/her body. We need to write our very own handbook. This is by far the most important journey we will ever embark upon. If there is one thing I know for certain, it’s that when my body feels good, my mind thinks good!
I challenge anyone to feel kind, generous and patient with a monstrous headache, severe indigestion or the modern day classic, back pain, because what happens in the body effects the mind and vice versa. By contrast, after a beautiful yoga session followed by a delicious cell-nourishing smoothie, the world feels like a garden in Spring and I, a buzzing bee ready to collect the golden nectar… Right!!!! Life does become light and playful when we feel good. We are able to laugh more, be compassionate, kind, fun, generous and be the people we really want to be.
Self-Study and Self-Care is the yogi’s way to everything, and from the grandfather of yoga himself, K. Pattabhi Jois, “With yoga (actual meaning: mind-body coming together) all is possible”.
But he did not mean the circus acrobats, rather the inward journey yoga takes us on - mentally coming into our bodies and connecting physically. We start understanding how to weed out the tangled webs that do not serve us, and release old cell memories creating negative-patterned behaviors. We discover the meaning of being the witness of our lives and living consciously. So, my final pearls of wisdom to my daughter and future grandchildren are:
"Make yoga a part of your life as soon as you can, my loves, and begin your journey inward. Discover your warrior, your love, and your beauty, not tomorrow or on your next holiday, but right now, because your health is the soil upon which to scatter every one of your dream seeds!!" (p.s. I love you)
When I created Total Body Yoga (now available on FMTV) It was my wish that it would find its way into every livingroom so that people all over the world would be able to practice this amazing "Moving Energy" yoga. I am so grateful that this has come true. You don't need flashy yoga gear or to sit in traffic for hours trying to get to a class... just turn it on and off you go (in your PJ's if you like!!)
We are in this together and I am here for you, if you need to connect.