A few years ago I signed up for a yoga class with Tara Stiles. At the time, I had known very little about her or her yoga classes, but there was something about her vibrant energy and easy-going vibe that had me super curious and drew me in.
Her class was unlike any other yoga class I had taken at the time. She encouraged us to feel into our bodies, move with ease. and release the need to follow rigid rules for the sake of practicing “authentic yoga”. I felt such a connection to this yoga practice and to Tara’s methodology, and I almost felt relieved that I could finally release the need to live up to someone else’s expectations, yogically speaking. I vividly remember feeling so excited to rush out and buy one of her shirts with the words “who made the rules” printed across it. It felt liberating and empowering.
Years later, I still have the shirt! I keep it, to ask myself, this simple, and important question,” Who made the rules?” What rules do we follow, and why?
It’s easy for us to fall into the regular nuances of daily living. We create habits and routines. We get comfortable. We blend in, we follow suit. We don’t question things.
When it comes to life’s rules, I think we all pick and choose which to follow, and for a multitude of reasons. But have you ever really stopped to ask yourself why?
Of course some rules we follow are based on societal and governmental norms, and others are more personal and unique, but I have found, that every once in a while, it’s important to check in with ourselves, collect data on ourselves, so to speak, and ask, “Who made the rules that I am following?
What are the rules that we are living under in our lives, and who set these rules into play?
Why do we choose to follow these rules?
How are these rules effecting our lives? Do they cause us to fall into societal ruts that don’t necessarily apply us?
Do we follow rules based on our own family’s lineages and backgrounds?
Do we follow the rules of behavior based on socio-economic status, race or gender? How about religion, education, or career?
Perhaps you have rigid rules about food or diet and exercise. What rules do you follow when it comes to relationships? What rules have you innately and instinctively created for yourself?
This kind of introspection and questioning provides so much insight for how we can begin to live our lives, on our own terms. We can find clarity, peace, freedom and empowerment when we take time to reconsider the rules in which we live.
Find some quiet time and truly think of the rules that you are living under. Become aware of what is guiding your life.
- Think about society’s rules, ask yourself why they are in place? Begin to understand how they play out in your life.
- Think about your family’s rules. Go into how it’s shaped who you are and how you behave.
- Think about your religious or spiritual rules. Do these rules go hand in hand with your beliefs?
- Think about your career rules. Do you have to fall in line to maintain status or title?
- Think about your relationship rules. Do you need to be a certain way in relationships to feel loved and worthy in life?
- Think about your self-imposed rules. Do you have to act a certain way, eat a certain way, dress a certain way? If yes, ask yourself why?
As you can see, the rules that we live under are infinite. They expand into every single area of our lives, so it’s important to become intimate with them.
Of course, sometimes rules are important and beneficial to keeping order and safety in the world.
Other times, they put us into boxes and block us from living the lives we truly desire and are meant to be living.
I have spent time recently answering all of these questions for myself, and I can tell you it has been incredibly empowering. I encourage you to be curious, and get intimate, with what rules “run your life” and why?
Do they resonate with who you really are? Release the rules that no longer fit, or serve you in the greatest way, and create new ones that are aligned with your highest ideals.
They say that rules are meant to be broken, but I say it this way, that rules are meant to be questioned.
What rules are you living under that no longer serve you? What rules help you live your best life? What rules need adjusting? I would love to hear from you, let me know in the comments below!
Michelle is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org