Why the path to health and wellness is just like driving a car

“To believe in something and not to live it is dishonest.” Gandhi

If you stop driving the car it will crash –

This is the problem many of us face when we are confronted with challenges. We feel like the easiest way to end where we are headed is to stop driving. Instead, we must realize that without a guide our car does not know where to go. If you want your car to change directions you must tell it. You must take control and guide the car where you want it to go. The car cannot take you there by itself. So, when you are faced with obstacles, challenges, or you are headed the wrong way down the road take control.

Turn the car around, take a right, take a left, make a U-turn. Whatever needs to be done, it must be done by you. There is not a passenger in the car who can control the driver’s seat. Only the driver has control over the gas, the brake, the steering wheel and the ignition. While passengers in the car might help direct you, you must decide which turn to make because ultimately they cannot make that turn for you. You must do it yourself. Do not stop driving your car because you do not want to crash. Realize that we cannot jump out of our car for a new one. We simply must guide the car we have.

If you speed to the new path ahead you will lose control –

            The reason I refer to this change as a journey is that it cannot be done too quickly. The path to success, the path to health, the path to wellness is not short and there is a speed limit. This speed limit is designed to protect you, just like the speed limit on the road. It gives you the power to observe your surroundings and the ability to remain controlled. When you ignore that speed limit and test your car’s ability to go faster one of two things will happen. If you are lucky you will be stopped by someone who is looking out for you. Alternatively, you might lose control.

When we lose control, we tend to fall off the path we are on. You may feel the urge to speed things up sometimes but your body cannot handle it. You must listen to the needs of your body and you must act for what is optimal, not just what is possible. Do not overexert yourself or under nourish your body. Do not speed up the process to weight loss by starving your body or feeding it caffeine pills. Additionally, do not speed up the journey to happiness by resorting to bandages like drugs, alcohol, and material things.

On this path, I am often reminded of a quote –

Happiness is like a butterfly

 If you inch towards the path ahead you will never reach it –

            Now, let’s be honest with ourselves on this path. While it is true that you cannot take things too quickly you must not excuse yourself from acting. If you act too slowly on this journey you will never reach your destination. If you put things off until tomorrow and then tomorrow becomes next week and next week becomes January you start to lose sight of the destination ahead. Then that destination seems unreachable.

Denial is a challenge you must overcome. We tend to deny to ourselves when we are making the wrong choices. If we are not denying the choices we are making excuses for them. It might be true that today you cannot run one mile, but maybe you can walk it. It might be true that today you cannot do a headstand but you can rest in downward dog. You can even practice getting there.

Be honest with yourself. Do you want to make a change? Do you want to find your true self? Then you must take steps.

“If you can’t fly then run. If you can’t run then walk. If you can’t walk then crawl. But whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Stop on the path to reflect on what your car needs – fuel, oil change, a new battery 

            The final thing to keep in mind on this journey is that your car needs fuel to run, an oil change to function, and a battery to sustain. Your body is like this too. Every week sit down and journal about how your week was. Did you feel exhausted or energized? Did you feel tight or flexible? Did you suffer an injury or gain a strength?

When you are feeling exhausted make sure you are taking in the right nutrients. Do you get enough B12 and Vitamin D3? Are you eating enough protein? Are you eating too much sugar? What is your bedtime and how much sleep are you getting? (A fit bit charge 2 will track your sleep for you – it has changed my life). If you are feeling exhausted or a lack of energy often make sure you approach a doctor for your best advice. We are all so different – some cars need regular gas but others need premium. Make sure you are feeding your car the fuel it needs.

When you feel tight listen to your body. Stretch that area but don’t over stretch. For tight hamstrings try a rag doll pose – for 2 to 5 minutes. For a tight chest get a bolster – sit the bolster at the base of your spine – lay back on the bolster and open your arms out in a T position. Sit here and breathe deeply – in through the nose to fill the lungs out through

For tight hamstrings try a rag doll pose – for 2 to 5 minutes.

For a tight chest get a bolster – sit the bolster at the base of your spine – lay back on the bolster and open your arms out in a T position. Sit here and breathe deeply – in through the nose to fill the lungs out through the mouth to exhale. Also, try bridge pose – this pose is my favorite! It opens your chest, neck, spine, and stomach.

For tight shoulders – lean up against a wall with your forearms on the wall – drop your head. Use a strap or a towel if you need to for this pose – reach one elbow up by your ear and drop one elbow down to your side – now reach behind to your back and see if you can grasp your hands together.

All of our bodies are different. A pose in yoga that is beneficial for me might be hurting you. Modify. Use props like a bolster or a yoga block. A breakfast smoothie might be perfect for me but it might be too sweet for you. Modify. Take the time to reflect on what you need. Your car will run longer if you give it fuel before it breaks down, you change the oil before it runs dry, and you replace the battery before it goes dead.


Shanti Shanti Shanti


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s