Christian Castaño, Yoga Teacher @ Siesta Yoga
“Do you, Booboo.” I have a friend who gives this advice to anyone seeking reconciliation with a partner, trying to figure out how to proceed after a challenge, and in a number of other situations because it applies almost always. It means, simply put, to consider what you need in your life and to move forward following that thought process. Make decisions that benefit your well-being. The “booboo” part is a cute and comical term of endearment. How often do you judge yourself more harshly than others do? That gives you an idea of how you will treat yourself. Start the process of being good to yourself by honoring and respecting You.
Before you can go forth and make your life the dream you’d always hoped for, you have to consider who you are. Take the time to define yourself in terms chosen by you for you. There are many ways that you can do this. The most direct would be to sit in a comfortable position and begin to breathe. Close your eyes and let everything drift from your mind except You. Who are you? What makes you tick? What inspires you, concerns you, keeps you going? Do this for 5-30 minutes 3-7 times per week. The value of this process comes in letting go of outside influences that might distract you from finding who you are by creating inaccurate perceptions of you. Another beneficial part of this process is that over time, you will change and grow. Who you were 1 year ago should be different than who you are now. You have had life-altering experiences, read about or been in natural and human-made disasters, made friends, discovered things, etc. You would be holding yourself back if you didn’t let those things change your perspective on the world. Reconsider who you are and what you need on a regular basis.
As you seek out your definition of You, you will undoubtedly come across others’ opinions of you, thoughts about you, things they’ve said about you to you or behind your back. Before you give those ideas any clout, consider the source. Are you taking into consideration how important those people are in your life, how big a part they play, and whether they have your best interest in mind? Not only should you only consider the opinion of those who truly care about you, you should strive to spend your time with this type of person. In the process of respecting yourself, you will realize how important it is that others respect you too.
Once you have established who you are, do you and be you. Make healthful lifestyle choices, not because it’s trendy, because it will promote your well-being. I would of course suggest yoga as a way to connect to your body, breath, mind, and emotions, but that is because yoga resonated with me. Do physical activities that make you feel most like yourself, activities that release stress and fill the space with You-ness. Eat foods that work with your body type and your mental and emotional patterns (example: it is said that spicy foods are not good for hot-tempered/fiery people). Make decisions that make you happy and fulfilled as you move through your life. Dress and act in a way that inspires and excites you, not in an attempt to make others satisfied with you. Pleasing others is a no-win battle. Allow yourself the freedom to be comfortable in your own skin, with and in your own mind, and with your own artistic expression of yourself.
Yogic philosophy says that You are a part of and a representative of the Universe. The Universe can only experience itself through the contents of it (humans, animals, plants, etc.). By being yourself completely, the Universe experiences itself through your eyes, which is different than the eyes of any other. The more You you can be, the more the Universe gets to experience itself, and the more you get to experience and understand the Universe. A worthwhile endeavor, I think.