Beach trips are a tradition in my family – one I have always welcomed with open arms. As we gear up for this year’s vacation, I am reminded just how important these “breathers” can be. As Americans, especially on the East Coast, we always seem to be in a hurry. Instead, of rushing to the next appointment, meeting, or thing on our to-do list, we should be rushing to slow down.
There is always time to take a breather.
Before my influence, Brad would be left with over 100 hours of unused paid vacation leave every year. And when he did force himself to take some time off, he would spend his much-deserved break reading, answering, and stressing about emails. According to Yoga Journal, Americans hand back 421 million days to their employers each year. The bottom line is we allow ourselves to become overscheduled, overworked, and all-out overwhelmed.
"Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for."
Vacation days give us an opportunity to reset. But unfortunately, we only get so many per year – here’s where yoga comes in. Lessons from the Yoga Sutra, known as the yamas (restraints) and niyamas (observances), present principles to live by. Reflecting on their personal meaning can offer a new perspective. Perhaps shine light on things you need to slow down your days, and rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul.
Nongrasping (aparigraha) offers freedom. It allows us to break harmful cycles. When we constantly pack our days full of work and schedules, there is no room for new energy to come in and give us a break. Seek opportunity to loosen your grip.
Energy Moderation (brahmacharya) offers balance. It helps us fight excessive behavior. By pushing ourselves to limits, we become burdened by what is next on the to-do list without ever focusing on relaxing. Release tension and replenish your energy.
Cleanliness (saucha) offers order. It purifies us inside and out. Without time for ourselves, our mind blurs and our body fatigues leaving us emotionally reactive. Get rid of personal clutter and create calm.
Self-Study (svadhyaya) offers happiness. It brings us our one true desire. Falling into unconscious patterns of busyness distracts us from tuning into how we really feel, and what we truly need. Do some soul searching without judgment.
A breather can be one minute, one day, one week – just breathe.
“Yoga” your days to be less stressful. And if you are second guessing that vacation day, take it.