Consider this statement: I am enough, just as I am.
Now consider this: I should __________ (be kinder, skinnier, a better mom, get more sleep, stop eating meat, whatever…..)
Which statement applies to you? I’m guessing it’s the second. Why? Because we live in an advertising/social media culture that is hyper-focused on convincing us we are not enough, and selling us a bill of goods on how we “should be.” It’s big business, lovelies, and we shell out millions of dollars to fill up those “should be” holes.
We “should be” smart enough to know we are being conned by the marketers and advertisers and social influencers. But those folks are experts at convincing us we need to buy into what they are selling. They feed us a steady stream of images that exploit our inner fears and worries.
Yoga Farm Educator, Daniela Hess, explains that all human beings have Three Essential Worries that loop in our heads:
I AM NOT ENOUGH. We are everyday folks. We have muffin tops and wrinkles, sagging boobs and thinning eyelashes. But we start to judge ourselves by Camila Coelho’s fashion sense, JLo’s abs, Christie Brinkley’s twinkly, unwrinkled eyes. And sure enough, we come up short. We’ve failed.
I AM NOT DOING ENOUGH. Maybe we are okay with our appearance, but our actions don’t measure up. We see the family on the news who taught themselves to knit...even the 7 year old...and now make hats for homeless shelters. We follow Kiersten Rich on Instagram, as she not only gads about the world, but also chides us to do more to save the earth. Once again, we start judging ourselves...and once again, we come up short.
I WILL BE ABANDONED AND ALONE. We start putting it all together.
I am not enough+I am not doing enough=How could anyone be with me?
Ah, but TV/radio/social media advertisers can change that equation. They offer us quick fixes for wrinkles, cellulose, dingy teeth, limp hair, boring sex…you name it, you can buy a magic pill for it.
Here’s a confession. For many years, not only did I buy into shaping self-images through marketing, I created and sold said marketing while running my advertising agency.
Years ago I did a TV spot for a chain of dress shops that sold $800 prom dresses. You read that right. $800 for a wear-once-and-hang-in-the-closet prom dress. My job was to convince parents that their prom-going teen would only have a good time if she wore an $800 dress. The one from Marshall’s for $69.99 wouldn’t cut it. If they wanted to impress the other mothers and chaperones, they “should” ante up for a “dress to impress.” Add in shoes, a handbag, accessories...and cha-ching, their little darling was wearing a $1,000 prom outfit. I was good at my job. The chain sold a lot of $800 prom dresses.
The lesson I learned from studying Daniela Hess and other yogis? “Should” is a dirty word. Lovelies, we are “should-ing” ourselves into unhappiness, worry, stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, even pain. It doesn’t have to be that way.
We can just stop “should-ing” ourselves. Easy to say, right? Yes, it IS easy to say, way too easy, and that’s a key. As Hess explains, when we “should” on ourselves or others, we create fear and doubt and uncertainty. Even worse, it stands between us and our connection with our higher power, our inner wisdom.
I shudder at how many times a day I used to think or say “should.” I had a daily litany of shoulds for me, a few for Doug, a handful for the blast team… and everyone else!
A typical day might start like this: I should stop taking on so many things at once, Doug should tell me the night before if he’s going to play golf, Tina and Kathleen should hurry up and finish the latest blast.
What if I changed my monologue to: I’m going to stop taking on so much so I can enjoy coffee on the patio in the morning, I will ask Doug to write his golf dates on the calendar, I’ll give The team a jingle today and see if they need help on the blast.
It’s sounds different, doesn’t it? It’s not judgmental. It dismantles our perception of what is true. It makes us feel we are moving forward in a positive way.
I tried not should-ing myself, and I like it. I’m working at taking “should” out of my vocabulary, and lovelies, I encourage you to give it a whirl, too. Accept yourself.
It’s not the first time I’ve talked about self-acceptance, as yoga is the practice of knowing and accepting our true selves. Ayurveda is a sister practice of yoga whereby we integrate our bodies, minds and spirits using a holistic approach to self-healing and self-knowledge. Ayur means life and Veda means knowledge. It’s something we don’t go into a lot in class, but it’s important to the concept of “should.”
“You are already wise. Your soul already has the wisdom. YOU CAN LOVE YOURSELF.” – Kim Beekman, Yoga Farm Educator
Ayurveda teaches we have to know ourselves in order to heal ourselves; we have to know our body type (Dosha) as well as our eating, sleeping and energy patterns.
Ayurvedic science teaches us we are not broken, we simply become “out of balance” when we experience mental or physical illness. Our healing happens when we return to our true self, our true nature.
Unlike western medicine, which only has been practiced for 150+ years, Ayurvedic medicine doesn’t use pills and surgery for healing. Instead, illness and imbalance are addressed through food, herbal remedies, and acupuncture as applied through the body’s Meridians (energy channels).
Chinese Medicine (the Meridians and Acupuncture) is about 2000 years old. Imagine this: up until about 200 years ago, it was illegal for Chinese doctors to cut into the human body!
Ayurveda is the oldest form of medicine, around 4000 years old. It’s the Sister Science to Yoga and aligned not with man-made remedies, but with The Divine, Mother Nature and eating in the Seasons and according to our specific body type, or Dosha (Vata, Pitta or Kapha).
According to Yoga Farm Educator, Jeannie O’Neill, God and your Soul (combined with your DNA) picks your specific body type (Dosha) at about 20 weeks gestation. In the womb, your soul already knows what its mission is going to be in this life and picks the body type that is perfectly designed to fulfill that mission. After we are born, and as we grow, we unfortunately disconnect from our own Inner Wisdom as we succumb to worldly influences.
Yoga teaches us to stop listening to the stories marketing and social media spin and to start listening to our bodies. It’s those stories that create the suffering in our minds that prohibits us from completing our mission. Trying to change our Dosha (who we are) isn’t the answer! Once we “get” who we are, accept who we are, we realize we don’t have personal defects. We aren’t broken. We simply have become imbalanced at times and need to return to living with the seasons and cycles of the earth according to our Doshas.
The Three Doshas in Ayurveda are not complicated to understand. Most of you probably have no idea what Dosha you are, but you can find that out here. According to Yoga Farm Educator, Kim Beekman, you will find you are predominately one Dosha with the qualities of a second Dosha. There really is no such thing as having qualities of all three Doshas...if you do, it means you are confused and can’t see enough of your true self to find your true Dosha.
We can’t always see our true selves. In fact, we often don’t see our true selves! With that in mind, I suggest you print two copies of the questions from the test. Write your answers on one copy. Have someone who knows you well write their answers on the other copy, and average the scores. You will be pretty darn close to your Dosha!
The Dosha are the God-given DNA that makes up who you are. You are one dominate Dosha with some elements of another. Your body shape will determine your nature...not your dress size! So give yourself permission “to be” who you really are and offer others the same grace and space “to be” who they really are. Even your husband.
So, I hear you muttering, enough blah, blah, blah, tell us what the heck these Doshas are!
VATA – The Bird. People with a dominant Vata Dosha generally have a thin body type with small features, long limbs and dry hair/skin. They have “no thickness.” A Vata’s earth element is air– they move gracefully, quickly and constantly (like birds in the sky). Their gifts are creativity, expressiveness and playfulness. Vatas can eat light during the day and intermittently fast without issue. They sense and feel everything. They are impeccable with self-care and become seriously imbalanced if they don’t take care of themselves.
When out of balance, Vatas are prone to experience fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, confusion, indecisiveness, insomnia, headaches and constipation. Vatas can get caught in a constant mind loop (think monkey mind) as well as seeing things through a worst case scenario lens. Vatas will self-blame and self-doubt. A lot. Their anxiety may stem from an old trauma that has been left unresolved. Eating disorders and addictions are common when the VATA is imbalanced.
PITTA – The Lion. People with a dominant Pitta Dosha are of medium build with a thick muscular frame, thick hair and freckled skin. Pittas move like Lions - very calculated and precise. Pittas possess lots of Prana (energy). Like Lions, they have a ravenous appetite for everything in life – they can’t eat enough food. Pittas need snacks every two to three hours and cannot fast or will get moody (HANGRY!). Attempting to fast or diet is not going to work for the Pitta – they need to eat well in order to fulfill their mission in life. Their elements are fire and water, hence they are passionate and fiery people, wired to achieve. Pittas are sharp, strategic, intellectual and possess amazing clarity. Pittas gift is their ability to transform any space around them.
When out of balance, Pittas are prone to anger, jealousy, impatience, irritability, intensity, arrogance, competitiveness, overheating, sweating, digestive problems, inflammation, skin conditions (acne) and ulcers. They become obsessed with thoughts of what they can and can’t control. They take on to many to-do lists, which then loop in their brains. Pittas can get stuck in anger issues and resentment stemming from an old trauma that has been left unresolved. If unbalanced, Pittas can become workaholics at the expense of relationships with family and friends.
KAPHA – The Bear. Those with a dominant Kapha Dosha are of a larger build. There’s a beautiful thickness about them. Kaphas can get body-shamed a lot because they are bigger in size. No matter how much they diet, exercise, run half marathons, go to spin class five days a week, or starve themselves, Kaphas are never going to be small (like Vata, the bird) – and that’s perfectly okay,my lovely Kapha friends!
Kaphas move slowly, like a bear. Their element is earth; they are the traditional earth mamas and do well raising children. It is their gift. They are easy-going, kind, loyal, forgiving and consistent. They make great girlfriends, colleagues and soul sisters.
When out of balance: Kaphas are prone to oversleeping. They can become resistant to change, lethargic and suffer from congestion, allergies, sadness/depression, diabetes and obesity. Kaphas hold resentment and can feel entitlement - there may be strings attached when they give to others, and expectations of what is owed back to them. Kaphas can freeze into indecision and can spend time “zoning out” on the couch with Netflix and ice cream.
I am a Pitta/Kapha. Yes, I can get down to a size 4-6 with lots of starvation and intense cardio. But I become unbalanced, and feel weak, anemic and constipated, and I always eventually return to my Dosha size of 8-10. I will never be a Vata, which I accept as my true self. A Vata is not designed and built to do what a Pitta or a Kapha is here to do on this planet.
In Ayurveda, dress size doesn’t matter. All that matters is whether you are healthy. Our bodies rely on three pillars to be in balance.
FOOD – it’s the first place to look when someone is sick. Simply put, we are what we eat. What we put into our body has an impact on every part of our body’s functioning. It’s our fuel, our nourishment. Modern medicine will not be useful if our food is out of alignment and if our food is in alignment, then medicine will not be necessary.
SLEEP – where the body has the time and space to regenerate. It is vital to our well-being. Sleep needs to be restful and refreshing. We need enough to function easily and well during the day.
SEX (VITALITY) is an outpouring of our creativity. It is your life force, creative fire and passion & zest. Sex doesn’t just mean intercourse. It also means creative merging of a partner or business. Someone you are “co-creating” with. But a word of caution: choose who you share your energy with wisely. Their energy will impact your health and balance!
If you feel your food, sleep and vitality are in sync, then you are in physical and mental balance. These three pillars must be in alignment for a whole and balanced life.
So how do you know if you are imbalanced? Maybe you feel okay, eat healthy foods, sleep enough to be up-and-at ‘em every day. (I’m going to get a little personal here, so bear with me.) If you are constipated, don’t feel much like have sex or working on your scrapbook, doze off during American Idol…then you are very likely out of balance.
But if you poop every day and it flows and looks like a very ripe banana, that’s a sign of balance. So is easily falling asleep, and staying asleep, and waking up refreshed and energized. And so is that lust in your loins for your partner, or job, or creative project.
Attempting to act and eat outside your Dosha is not going to help you achieve your mission on this planet. We must become aware of our own unique body type so we can do the work that God intended for us.
I am willing to wager that all of us say things such as, I would love to eat better, I would give my eyeteeth for a good night's sleep, and I sure could use some spice in my love life…but I should do a load of laundry, call my mom, go shopping for a gift for my sister, sew a button on my hubby’s favorite shirt. Before you know it you have “shoulded” yourself out of balance!
So lovelies, give some thought to where you can simplify in your life to make time for balance. How vital are your commitments? Are you saying yes when you want to say no? My editor, Kathleen, has a No Wand (really just her index finger, but it serves the purpose.) When someone asks Kathleen to give of her time or energy, and it doesn’t fit her balance, she waves her No Wand and says, No, I'm sorry. Even when it’s ME asking! No excuses or explanations, just, No, I’m sorry.
Daniela Hess, says in order to return to a more balanced life, contemplate replacing The Three Essential Human Worries (I am not enough, I’m not doing enough, I will be alone/abandoned) with The Three Essential Human Needs:
CONNECTION (with people, with nature, with God)
FULFILLMENT & PURPOSE (our mission on this planet)
AWE & ASTONISHMENT (for new experiences and people as well as to see the magic in the ordinary)
To Thy Own Self Be True, Lovelies, and Happy Mother’s Day, to those those who birthed us, and those we birthed!
P.S. Want to learn more about Ayurvedics and Yoga Farm? https://www.yogafarm.us/team/