“All I seem to be doing is furthering my CV and the ambitions of others but not spending enough time on my personal self.” This was the gist of a friend’s Facebook update. Coming from someone who is a leader in a vast disruptive start-up in Asia Pacific and a TEDx speaker, this is not surprising. His heart lies in setting up a social enterprise that he hopes will give him the sense of fulfillment he needs by helping others.
But will a social enterprise give him what he needs?
Hatha Yoga principles suggest that his attempts to change paths won’t bring fulfillment.
He will still feel a sense of imbalance, which very often feels like something is missing because his Sun (masculine) and Moon (feminine) sides will remain out of balance. He may also be too busy to notice – which eventually leads to burnout and the desire for long sabbaticals.
In Hatha Yoga, “Ha” in Sanskrit refers to the Sun or the Masculine aspect of life. “Tha” refers to the Moon or the feminine aspect of life. All of us carry a masculine and feminine side within us, and this is unrelated to our sex and sexual preferences. Hatha Yoga believes we need to pursue both sides with equal rigor to achieve a balanced life.
Key Traits of “Ha”/Masculinity
Our Masculine side helps us achieve financial stability, goals, and organization and develop the following abilities
1. Logical and analytical abilities
2. Planning skills
3. Structures and hierarchies
4. Rigor, control, and discipline
When our “Ha” is more active than our “Tha,” our lives tend become a chore, in other words safe, focused and checklist driven. We lack ideas. Most corporate jobs and social enterprises need to be run in a “Ha” manner to achieve results. As a result, most training and education systems are structured in a “Ha” manner as well to cater to the needs of a “Ha” enterprise. This way of living and working can lead to a “Ha” imbalance which manifests as career burnout.
Key Traits of “Tha”/Femininity
Our feminine side helps us develop creativity, discover new aspects of ourselves, challenge our comfort zones, instill self-compassion and vulnerability.
1. Acknowledging, understanding and communicating emotions
2. Intuitive abilities
3. Nurturing, listening, playing and receiving
4. Connecting with the natural world
When our “Tha” is more active than our “Ha,” our lives can become chaotic and full of ideas, and we may feel we are not achieving anything. But with 60-hour work and travel weeks, most of us do not spend enough time developing our “Tha.”
Here are four easy tips you can put into practice to begin developing your “Tha” while creating balance.
Wherever you live, grow and keep flowers. The act of feeling the soil, watering and caring for something stimulates our senses and vulnerability and puts us in touch with nature.
Running through a park is great, but flowers in your home and office will cultivate a personal kinship with nature. Rutgers University recently conducted a 10-month behavioral study known as “Flower Power” that explored the link between flowers and life satisfaction. Their findings show that flowers are a natural moderator of moods and have substantial positive effects on emotional health.
Focus Less on the End Result
Look for unstructured activities ideally in nature. By unstructured, I am referring to events that do not have a detailed How-To Guide, and you don’t have an end-result in mind. Power Yoga and sports are acceptable provided you are not focused on the end goal and are genuinely enjoying yourself.
Consider Activities That Guide You Through Your Intuition
Any type of dancing, art, handicraft, experimental cooking, unplanned walks, impromptu visits to friends or exploring a new place can increase balance.
Yin Yoga or any other slower paced yoga, where you take the time to listen to your body in every pose and breathe, will allow you to listen to your inner state of being. Women and Men’s Circles are growing in numbers around the world allowing you to express how you honestly feel in a nurturing, non-judgmental environment and find solutions to deal with and rise above those feelings.
Get A Journal And Write Often
Write your feelings about anything and everything. Many of us find it difficult to express how we feel in enough detail to realize how to deal with our emotions. Self-reflection takes practice. The 20th-century education system has taught us to express opinions, but not how to channel and express our deepest feelings in a safe and non-judgmental manner.
You can begin by writing in a journal app. Using an app may work for some of you, but there is nothing like putting pen to good old paper and allowing yourself to flow. Avoid judging what you write-it is only for your eyes.
Sometimes it may not be your career that is burning you out. Pursue your career, that social enterprise or whatever goal you have with great passion. Hatha Yoga suggests balancing that passion with activities that channel your feelings freely to help achieve a more fulfilling life.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift; the rational mind is a faithful servant, we have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”– Albert Einstein