Some believe that they need to be overachievers, constantly compete with others, work hard, and apply the “no pain no gain” mindset to get where they want, while others just go with the flow and basically wait for life to happen. When I talk to my friends and clients, I normally come across these two extremely polarizing belief systems.
I feel, based on my own life path, that we need to aim for balance between the two beliefs, and not fall into either extreme.
A life with no direction is aimless floating in space, and excessive ambition usually leads to overexertion and burnout.
So how do we find the middle way in modern day, aka Madhyama-pratipadāh in Sanskrit?
Well, let me tell you my backstory and how I managed to find it.
In 2007, I enrolled in my first yoga teacher training, in Zagreb, to cope with a really stressful corporate job. I was working long hours, not really enjoying the work itself, nor getting paid anything close to a decent salary.
The indoctrinated part of me was convinced that this was how it had to be, that life was a constant battle and that if I stuck it through, I would somehow be prosperous and abundant. And who could blame me? After all, this was one of the core beliefs in my environment. Logically, none of that happened and I felt chronically burnt out and depressed.
However, as I got deeper into yoga, I started becoming aware of how abusive I was being to myself, by insisting on staying at this job, and justifying it as a way to make ends meet.
Gradually though, a shift in me ocurred that allowed me tune in with my emotions, my real aspirations, and what my body was telling me. And it was screaming : “you need to be moving me!!” Soon after, I switched to an English teaching job, which was enough to keep me physically active and not have to sit in an office all day long, as well as pay the bills during my extensive yoga TT course.
Fast-forward a few years, and I am wearing flip flops to work, sipping coconut water on a Thai beach, and earning a living from doing what I love; yoga teaching and wellness management. Although there were challenging and long days too, I could now feel myself a lot more aligned with my job.
Fast-forward to 2021 and here I am in Chile, running my own yoga & systemic coaching business, and enjoying every second of it; from building online programs, and bonding with clients, to doing all the marketing and administration.
My work still requires a lot of structure, effort and daily self-discipline, however I make sure I focus on the priorities, and don’t get overwhelmed by doing a thousand things at a time. In addition, I always leave time for my yoga practice and personal wellbeing, as burnout is no longer an option!
Did I reach this point by going with the flow? Well, yes, in a sense that I allowed myself to open up to new possibilities and take a leap of faith. Also, everyday I remind myself that nothing in life is guaranteed, and that with all the planning in the world, we have no idea what’s around the corner.
To sum it up:
- Take conscious action as opposed to overexerting yourself for the sake of doing so. This can translate into, defining priorities, staying focused on one thing at a time, choosing your battles, setting your boundaries and being respectful towards your mental and physical state.
- Don’t disperse your energy. Instead, preserve it and use it wisely. Sometimes it can mean saying NO to an imposed task, or even giving up on something if you assess that it’s not working in your favour. In a yoga context, you are better off working on a difficult posture once a day with awareness than practicing it zillions of times without real focus.
- Be flexible. Not everything will work out as you’ve planned, so be ready to change and adapt as needed.
- And on a more profound level, do you dare to work towards your goals, find your true passion, and at the same time not get attached to the outcome? If you are, get ready to work hard with awareness, and at the same time, surrender to the unknown, every single day!
If you are having trouble finding the right balance in your life, maybe one of the programs below is for you.