It Is Impossible To Pour From An Empty Cup

What a world in which we live. The hustle and bustle. The constant moving and endless to-do lists from work, to social engagements and more. Time is precious and it seems to be slipping through our fingers.

Stress is so prevalent in today’s society. Stress related disorders are the number one reason humans are ill and dying. Even thinking about it is stressful! And it all comes down to our lifestyle and the choices we make.

Lead researcher Dr Lyndall Strazdins, from ANU’s Research School of Population Health reports in today’s busy world we find “it harder to make choices”. When overloaded with the stressful situations in our day to day lives “people start doing the essentials and for most of us that’s holding down a job and looking after the family.”

In other words we forget ourselves and focus all our energy on our work and supporting others. I know what you’re thinking; directing your attention and support to your friends and loved ones is important. But when the version of yourself that you are offering is stressed out, run down, exhausted and depressed… you are more of a hindrance than a helpful friend, partner or parent.

John Chambers Christopher, professor of counseling psychology at Montana State University conducted an experiment teaching self-care through mindfulness practices to medical and psychology students and counsellors. As a result of a consistent long term yoga practice, students felt a heightened sense of empathy for others, greater adaptability skills in life and developed new abilities to let go of stress. They experienced decreased feelings of being rushed, confused, and disoriented as well as a significant decrease in total mood disturbance. Overall students “reported feeling better equipped, both emotionally and mentally, to deal with daily stress in their lives”

But most importantly students discovered that once they had practiced self care and experienced greater self value for their true inner selves, they were able to pass these amazing health benefits on to others. “I can be… closed up” one student said, “I’m not greeting the world at all…but after practice, I can greet the whole world a lot more openly than to see it as an obstacle and to bring that with my clients is amazing”.

So what does this mean for us? We have to prioritise ourselves.This means coming to the mat, engaging your inner being through yoga and meditation, putting your needs and desires first. Doing so will not only boost your self worth, rid you of stress and nourish your body, but prioritising yourself will allow you to give back. It will allow you to reach a state of mind and body where you can provide support to those around you, project your positive energy and be that rock your friends and family need to lean on.

We are of no help to others if we haven’t yet helped ourselves. Making that commitment to a regular yoga practice will see your self worth, inner values, dreams, boundaries and deepest desires expand and soar. Yoga is a gift. A gift for you to develop the capability to give back to this world. A gift that can only be realised once you offer it first to yourself.