By Lynn Roulo
My first Kundalini Yoga teacher, Siri Vedya, would always start his classes with a brief discussion about life. He would talk about practical day-to-day issues as well as more advanced philosophical concepts. While I loved the full 90 minutes of his classes, his lecture was my favorite part.
One day he announced that we were starting a “happiness series,” and explained that there were different steps required to reach happiness. The first step, he said, was our energy.
“You need energy to be happy. Without enough energy, it will be very difficult to enjoy your life and to accomplish the things you are here on planet Earth to do,” Siri Vedya explained.
I’ve thought a lot about that lecture over the years and how it is such a simple, yet profound idea.
The bad news is there are lots of things that throw us off and deplete our energy: work stress, relationship problems, illness in all its forms, and most recently, uncertainty from the pandemic. These factors can trigger low vibration emotional states like depression, sadness, and anxiety—leading us to feel drained, tired, and unable to focus.
The good news is there are lots of concrete things you can do to build your energy. If you apply the tools diligently, you can see results pretty quickly. Here are just a few:
- Establish and maintain a daily yoga/meditation practice.
I’ve written before about the benefits of a daily yoga/meditation practice, and I truly think this is one of the most important things you can do to build your energy. Your daily practice doesn’t need to be long (my daily minimum is a three-minute Sat Kriya practice), but it does need to be consistent. Show up every single day and watch your energy build.
- Eat a clean diet, free of processed foods and rich in plants.
Kundalini Yoga teacher training offered me many things but the most transformative was the 40-day cleanse they asked us to do. I did not realize how big of an impact your diet has on your body, your thoughts, and your energy until my first 40-day clean eating experience. Eliminating refined sugar and gluten can have a significant impact on your energy and your thoughts. Clean up your diet and watch your energy build. If you want to clean up your diet with others, join us for our annual community cleanse running from March 22-May 1, 2021.
- Take time to do things you love every day.
This can be as simple as walking the dog, cooking a favorite meal, playing music, painting, or reading books you enjoy. Doing what you love is like refilling your energy tank, and you’ll need this boost for the challenges life throws at you. You wouldn’t let your car run out of gas—don’t let your body run out of energy.
- Take stock of who you surround yourself with.
Be mindful of who is in your environment. Negative, self-centered people bring you down and drain you. People who are stuck in their lives can be a drain too. Many relationships are based on mutual dysfunction and the unspoken agreement that, “I won’t confront you about your dysfunction, and you won’t confront me about mine.” Watch for these dynamics and if necessary, gently disengage from unhealthy people and situations.
- Get out into nature at least a few times per week.
It’s official: being in nature is healing. A study of 20,000 people led by the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter found that people who spend two hours a week in nature were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t. Now we have the science to back it up, but you probably already knew it was true. Being in nature lowers anxiety, lifts your mood, brings you into the present moment, and helps give you perspective. Find a way to get into nature each week.
Your energy is probably one of the single most important determinants of how the next twelve months will go for you, and I say this based on personal experience. Like many of you, around this time last year the pandemic was wreaking havoc on my life—multiple income streams collapsed all at once. I’d lay on my bed in the middle of the day, drained, trying to think of what to do.
But in the middle of feeling overwhelmed, my energy would kick in. I’d feel it tingling through my body; an idea would pop into my head; I’d gather my energy and go to the computer to research the new idea. And low and behold, it did work. New revenue streams sprang up, exciting opportunities presented themselves, and things stabilized.
Maybe even more importantly, because I trust my energy, I can count on myself to maneuver out of difficult situations. This opens up the whole world. Happiness is your birthright, your energy is your passport, and the best news is, you’re in control of the destination.
Lynn Roulo is an American Kundalini Yoga and Enneagram instructor living in Athens, Greece. She teaches a unique combination of the two systems, combining the physical benefits of Kundalini Yoga with the psychological growth tools of the Enneagram. She has written two KRI approved books combining Kundalini Yoga and the Enneagram. She blogs about living in Greece and about her journey from being a San Francisco CFO to an Athens Yoga instructor. You can learn more about Lynn and her journey here.