Welcome to our series focusing on health, wellbeing and yoga with Stacey Baxter of Muladhara Yoga.
Let’s begin by defining selfish. Being selfish is ‘considered’ the act of being egotistical, being concerned only about oneself and having a complete disregard for others. Doesn’t sound great, does it?
Let’s try and look at it from a different angle. What if we saw selfish as looking after yourself for you and you only, listening to your mind and body about what you want and need, spending time to hold space for yourself and only doing things that make you happy?
It’s still being concerned about yourself, but on a wellbeing level. Ultimately, being a little selfish sometimes will help you feel better in yourself, which will subsequently radiate to others, which will make others feel good too – almost like a ‘good energy domino effect’ – win-win.
When practicing yoga, we must be selfish. We must think of what OUR body is asking, what OUR mind needs. Do we need to soften or deepen?
I remind students regularly to only do what their body is asking and to not compare themselves to others, as what one body needs is different to another.
What if we moved this knowledge in to everyday life, asking yourself, what do I need?
Do you have a habit of saying yes to everything to keep the peace? Sometimes at your own detriment? From going on a night out when you just want to be at home in your pjs, or saying yes to more work when your workload is already unbearable? In both scenarios you more than likely feel like the energy has been sucked right out of you; why can’t you just say no?
To go out when you’re tired will more than likely result in you feeling terrible the next day, for what exactly? If you had just stayed in and listened to your own needs, you would have woken fresh and feeling good.
Continuing to take on more and more work will lead to burn out, you won’t perform to your best ability which isn’t good for you or your work, by pushing back and saying no, you’re avoiding the burn out and being more productive – again, win-win.
Like everything however, being selfish needs balance. It wouldn’t work out great if you just said no to everything and were slipping more into the ego/disregard for others definition, it’s having the courage to say no when your mind and body are screaming at you to take a rest.
As I’ve got older it has become easier to be more selfish, happily choosing to have a night in to recharge over a night out and being wiser about who I give my time to, but where I recently had a lesson was recognising when I need to stop saying yes to more work. As I love to teach, I was saying yes to every opportunity without considering, 1 – I also work a full-time job and 2 – as a yoga teacher, in my experience, you can easily absorb other energies which can be tiring.
Eventually, I burnt out, therefore I decided to take a solo break.
So, I’m sat here on my balcony in Madeira feeling inspired to write this. I had a moment of pure bliss, noticing how relaxed I felt whilst listening to the sound of the waves. I took myself here as my body screamed for a break. I travelled solo, I take myself out for dinner, do what I want to make my soul feel good; a week of being selfish is liberating and you feel in tune with yourself.
Whilst I appreciate, some will be reading this thinking, “I have kids, I have a partner to consider, I don’t have the money”, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a little time for yourself and have your moment of being selfish. Take a day off work whilst the kids are at school and spend the day on the sofa watching what YOU want, eating what YOU want, snoozing when YOU want; it’s still selfish, it’s still time to recharge, it’s still you time – just free of charge.
I hope you can take time to be a little selfish in the future, listen to your mind, listen to your body, listen to yourself.
Until next time, namaste.
This article is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians. The reader should regularly consult a physician in matters relating to his/her health and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.