When I first began practicing yoga, the hardest part for me was slowing down. I have always been a sprinter and in my early twenties when I took my first yoga class, I was in go-go-go mode. I took pride in running 5 miles before breakfast, working a 10 hour shift at the office, joining friends for happy hour or a networking event in the evening and then crashing just to get up and do it all again. I didn’t value rest. In fact, I told myself that was wasteful. I valued social experiences and adrenaline and the runner’s high over peace and quiet. But my muscles were tight and I was tired. I heard about yoga being good for mental and physical health so I agreed to try it. When the teacher asked me to close my eyes and just breathe, I panicked. When I had to hold a pose, I felt frustration and tension build instead of release and relief. I even cried in savasana, the final resting pose.
It has taken me years to build a yoga practice, over 20 years to embrace and appreciate the art of slowing down and being still. I still struggle with spending an hour moving at a slower pace. But every time I hear that critical voice, I hear another positive one praising me. It is my mind and heart saying “thank you. I needed that.” When I slow down, I create space in my body and mind.
This week I took a yin yoga class. If vinyasa yoga is the movement and flow with breath, yin is the counter to that. It is the still, mostly lying down, long hold pose yoga class. But don’t be fooled! It doesn’t make it “easier”. The body may be still but the mind is running like a waterfall. That is the yin practice – to quiet the mind and the body, similar to meditation. The teacher invited us to be curious. She said, instead of fighting the pose, be open and curious to allow for new sensations.
I believe all of life is a balance of the yin and the yang. The yin is the quiet peace and space that allows us to be creative and curious in our minds. The yang is the movement, the excitement, the stimulus, the action. Both are integral and important.
When it comes to our finances, we usually take action in response to life happenings and experiences. We have a bill to pay. We change jobs. We move to a new location. Life is in constant motion. It is happening to us, right? What if we are proactive with our planning instead. Most investors tend to reach out to an advisor when in life transition and there is an impetus for change. What about the times in between? Why don’t we review our finances/life plans and be open and curious about the possibilities in the quiet times? Surely there are “what if” scenarios we would like to see or project with regard to our finances? Certainly there are past or current dreams and desires we would like to revisit. Certainly our hearts, minds or bodies are asking some questions. Could I really live in Colorado? Could I leave my full time job for a more flexible part time position? Could I afford that family trip to Europe? Can I retire now? Take a look at your plan. Become aware. Sense a need for what you desire. Take a step toward that.
I invite you to be curious about the possibilities. Be Bold. Love your Life!
Brandon Cabaniss, CFP®