We all have a thing that we do or use excessively.
There once was a time when I owned nearly four-hundred books.
I know, the number was a shock to me too.
Like many young bookworms, my goal as a child was to recreate the massive library in Beauty and The Beast. Before long, I began defining myself by the number of books I had read. Turning pages became my identity, and while this may seem like an innocent trap to fall into, I failed to recognize the danger of feeling the need to escape reality in order to find my place in the world.
As one might imagine, I eventually ran out of shelf space and found myself stacking book upon book anywhere I could find the space. I held tight to the memories that every cracked spine displayed. Letting go of a book I once loved seemed almost like a betrayal of my past self. I was tied to the world of fiction in the same way that one might be tied to their childhood home.
At the beginning of 2018, I donated over half of my book collection, and have since taken steps in all areas of my life to recognize and minimize my excessive patterns. During Yoga Teacher Training, we explored the 8-limbs of yoga, paying close attention to the Yamas & Niyamas. Brahmacharya is the fourth Yama, or ethical discipline, of the yogic philosophy, which translates to “nonexcess” and challenges our perception of what it really means to have everything we need.
While that thing you're excessive about may be more or less extreme than my own, we can all benefit from implementing Brahmacharya in our every day lives.
Here are a couple of practical ways you can begin to practice nonexcess today:
Number One: Track Your Tech-Time
Throughout a single day, how often do you look at your phone? Chances are, more often than you realize.
(Those phantom texts get me every time!)
We live in a digital age ruled by glowing rectangles we carry around in our pockets. Studies show that social media is as addictive as any other habit-forming substance, and can ultimately lead to depression and anxiety when used in excess. Because of this, tracking and slimming the amount of time spent on your devices has been proven to enhance that quality of your life.
And there are a number of apps you can download to help with this process.
My personal favorite is an app called Moment. It tracks the number of hours you spend on your phone each day. You will be amazed by this eye-opening revelation. Imagine all the beautiful things you can accomplish with those 5 extra hours every day! (5 hours is the average time most people spend on their phones each day. Crazy, right?)
After you've tracked your daily phone time, you may feel inclined to take your power back and prevent those enticing little icons from seducing you once more. In this case, there's Freedom.
Freedom is an app-blocker that you can download to block certain apps for as long as you so choose. So, if you find yourself excessively using your Facebook app, you can block it four 1, 2, or even 12 hours at a time to focus on your family, your work, or your creativity.
If you find that your laptop or computer is the culprit of your social media addiction, ToDoBook.com is an excellent app that you can easily download on any internet device. It blocks out your news feed (on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etc) until you've completed the tasks on your to-do list. This is especially helpful if you tend to fall into the procrastination trap, like me.
Number Two: Condense Your Closet
This simple change can do wonders for not only your living space, but for your mental health as well.
Much like my book-hoarding habit, holding on to old, warn-out, or unflattering clothing can hinder your ability to clear the cache clogging up your mind and live a fulfilled life.
Have you ever heard the phrase “dress for the job you want”? As a teenager, I took this saying way too literally and neglected to understand the deeper meaning behind the cliché. Our personal style is a direct representation of our personality. It allows us to show the world exactly who we are, one pair of shoes at a time. Beyond that, the way we dress can have a profound impact on our mood and overall self-esteem.
For example: You know that one tee-shirt you only wear to repaint the walls or scrub the bath-tub? Think about the way you feel when that fabric hits your body and you look in the mirror. My guess is, it doesn't make you feel like a million bucks – or even twenty, for that matter.
Now, I'm not saying you have to go and toss your cleaning-day shirt in the dumpster, but rather evaluate just how many cleaning-day shirts you actually own.
Condensing your closet can feel absolutely liberating, if you look at it as an opportunity to get to know yourself.
If it helps, you can always do what I did: Purchase twenty pretty hangers on Amazon and start hanging up your favorite articles of clothing when they arrive. Whatever didn't make the cut by twenty was tossed in the donation pile.
I hope you find this post helpful, and if you do, we'd love to hear about your new healthy lifestyle! Get in touch with us on the Mountain Yoga Studio Facebook page, or @mountainyogastudio on Instagram.
Beginning in November, 2018, we will be opening a boutique inside the studio, where you can find some of your favorite yoga-wear (including Spiritual Gangster) just in time for the holidays! Be on the lookout for more information, and be prepared to update your wishlist!
Are you a student?
Do you know a student?
If so, today is your lucky day! With your head in the books, the light at the end of the tunnel can appear so dim. We get it. That's why we're offering you a 30% Monthly Unlimited (Yoga, Cycling, or Flex) discount between now and May of 2019!
Your mental and physical health are our top priority. Drop in for a visit to rediscover your light!