Greetings you beautiful souls,
I hope everyone is enjoying their day (or night).
It’s no surprise if you’ve been reading my posts that my mental health has declined a bit in the past few months. I’ve been ranting and raving about it on here and on instagram in hopes to get all the bad out of me and make others not feel so alone if they feel similar. Is it working? I hope so. I also think it’s normal for our mental health to have ups and downs. That we should maybe stop demonizing negative emotions and collectively learn how to navigate them and get through them instead. Which, is why I try to share as openly and as authentically as I can and feel comfortable with. At the very least, knowing how to navigate lows in our mental health when they show up makes the future look a lot more promising.
Anywho, in my recent “navigation” I took a few days to not post. To add some clarity and creativity back into my brain. Basically to put energy back into myself and my own brain, because whatever I was doing and thinking was stealing my energy and causing me more harm than what I needed to have. Which is kind of what this post is going to be about, Ahimsa (non-harming) and Asteya (non-stealing). Two yoga philosophy terms that I have integrated into my every day life (well always trying to rather) that help make me more mindful about my mental health, and have helped me navigate my recent mental health lows.
A learning moment if you don’t already know. Ahimsa and Asteya are two Yamas (I think of them as social practices), which are a part of one of the 8 limb practice of yoga. I look at it as how we practice yoga with the outside world and not just in our physical bodies. Obviously, there’s a lot of ways to practice not causing harm or stealing, but it also means not causing harm to ourself or stealing from ourself.
It’s easy to not realize that our thoughts can cause us harm, because sometimes what we’re thinking feels so big and important that we cannot focus on anything else. We don’t feel like it’s a choice to not think about them. Sometimes it isn’t a choice. Especially if you’re someone who struggles with intrusive thoughts or it’s something traumatic. However, the more space negative thoughts take up in our brain, the more harm that causes. It does it by stealing our mental energy, making us feel irritable and grouchy. The negative feelings it induces can cause physical harm on our bodies. Sometimes it leaves us unable to do our day-to-day stuff properly…or at all. Bottom line our thoughts can be harmful and can steal from us.
Lately I keep feeling like I am a victim of circumstance and racking my brain on all the ways I have “deserved” to be mistreated or how I think I have been mistreated. Or just being mad and upset about things that I view as not okay. And being in a mood swing doesn’t make the thoughts and feelings easier to navigate. It’s not that I want to stay in these feelings when I feel them, It’s that it’s hard. Such a huge part of my human foundation has been so used to being in a mind space like this because of how I was raise, I forget that it causes so much harm. Some of us don’t know what it’s like to not be in a thought pattern that isn’t harmful (bc of trauma, how we were raised, mental illness, etc.). That even if we get into a good thought pattern for awhile, we get stuck in the negative ones more easily, because we’re used to how it feels. Even though it isn’t good for us, there’s a weird comfort in what we’re used to. That’s just our human nature.
I had ephiney the past few days, as I sat deep with my thoughts and tried to do the whole cheesy feel my feelings thing. I thought about how all the people who hurt me, most of them don’t care. Most of them are doing better in life than me. I thought about how unfair that is, that I have all this hurt because of someone else’s actions or how I keep attracting similar people/situations into my life because of unhealed things from the past. I thought about how tired I was of feeling like this and how I didn’t deserve it. I thought about how I can be toxic at times, but I am not a bad human. We’re all toxic at times and we’re all learning. I thought about how everything that I believe makes someone bad isn’t what I am, so why did I let other people and situations make me feel like that? Then I started thinking in all the things I do and think that make me the opposite of what I truly believe a bad human is.
I won’t lie, I do believe it was a friend sending me a podcast on affirmations that I triggered this realization. And the affirmations I’ve been doing the past few days is what is helping add fuel to the fire of keeping this realization alive. Realizing that staying bitter about things is stealing from me and causing me harm. Feeling like a bad human because of someone else’s perception or action is the last thing I deserve. That I don’t deserve that harm. That not believing in or loving myself because of something out of my control, isn’t fair to me. I’ve had enough people and situations let me down, why would I give up on myself? I won’t.
I show up to my yoga mat everyday. I sit in meditation at least 3 to 4 days a week. If I am not trying to practice the act of not causing harm to myself or not stealing from myself am I even practicing yoga? The answer is yes I am, but you get my point. There’s always more to practice and there is always more to learn. Growing is a lifetime process, I think we all forget that sometimes.
Right now this practicing ahimsa (non harming) and asteya (non stealing) in my brain is a lot of monitoring my thoughts and feelings. Learning that certain thoughts trigger certain feelings and I should replace them with a thought that takes me to another feeling. I hope that makes sense. Similarly I am also noticing what I do in my day to day life that is causing good and bad feelings as well. For instance, staying on social media too long steals my energy and makes me feel yuck. So paying attention to how long I can do that before I start feeling yuuck, is what I am trying to do. I am also trying to find things that I can do that doesn’t feel like it’s stealing my energy or causing me harm. It’s affirmations and just the daily mantra to myself that I deserve better. I don’t chase anything, what is meat for me will find me in the right time, and I am deserving of the best. We all are.
I won’t stop fighting for what is best for me. I’ll start letting go of the things that have brought me comfort, harm, and joy, but aren’t meant for me. Because I deserve a life worth living. We all do.
Let me know if this resonated with you in anyway. Or what you do to practice these two things if you’re also a yogi.