Once I’ve got a magazine from one of my friends’ mother that was named “5 minute English”. It promised to teach you to speak English just in 5 minutes a day, as the name obviously stated. I don’t think it taught me that much English but I certainly learned something important from that magazine.
There was an interview in the magazine with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who posed on the cover. I didn’t know much about him back then but that he is a wrestler in WWE and “that eyebrow thing.” I am not sure if I’d ever read this article with him if I wouldn’t sit on a train for about 6 hours because of a bush fire but I’m glad I did. The Rock became some kind of role model for me by the end of the trip and ever since I’m consciously anchoring myself to recharge my mana account, my Wahi Pana.
The concept of Wahi Pana means “storied places” for the native Hawai’ians. Your personal Wahi Pana is a place where you feel most connected. It can be a mountain, river, a secluded grove of trees, a rock by the beach of ocean, etc—where you can sit and reconnect with nature, your ancestors, and most importantly, yourself.
Such a concept is familiar to many other nations as well. In New Zealand, they share the concept with Tūrangawaewae, a place to stand.
In this interview The Rock talked about how this mechanism can be used for many purposes—as you could guess, his wahi pana is training in some sort of physical activity.
“We all lead hectic lives with tons of responsibilities. Make sure you find your anchor. Whatever it is—find it, protect it and use it as often as you can. Our anchors in the long run always lead us to success.”
I started to think back then, what is my anchor? I could list many things I was doing at the time, but none of them felt like something I was really passionate about or something that would give me so much I could dedicate myself to it every single day. Back then I really wanted to lose weight, I’d just gotten out from the hospital, my body was weak and stiff so I figured that a healthy lifestyle could be my anchor. As I understood from the interview, the anchor has to be something that you build into your life, something that is planned in every single day, so I created a daily to-do list that revolved around my healthy lifestyle.
I planned out everything: wake up at 6 a.m., morning yoga stretches, meditation, shower, write my gratitude list, get dressed, have a healthy breakfast, brush my teeth, go on a walk, eat a healthy snack, read a book, workout, make lunch for the family (super healthy of course), I planned in some free time for miscellaneous things in the afternoon, then depending on the day I went to training or worked out in my room, followed by a healthy dinner, bed time yoga, meditation and some times a movie.
The anchor was working really well. I lost all the weight and even more than I wanted and felt fit and healthy. Living healthy really became natural, so much that I started to feel the need to find another anchor. Something bigger and heavier. That was about the time when I discovered my love for yoga. At the beginning I only stuck with it because I wanted to gain some flexibility but soon my yoga mat became my new anchor, my sanctuary. It helped me to remember, but also to forget. Yoga has been my anchor ever since, that grounds my day. I’m not so regimented about it as I used to be. I still start my days with yoga but it’s not always the first thing I start to do when I open my eyes (yes, I used to start my morning with doing yoga in bed, before even getting out.), I learned to relax and ease into my day. I don’t beat myself up anymore if I start with reading a book while sipping a creamy decaf coffee or indulge in a chai because I know that my anchor is there to ground me in my day any time. Though I didn’t reach a state where I can skip anchoring myself, I lose balance without it. But yoga is so much more than asana practice on the mat. I do not need to do practice every day to “do yoga.” Yoga is a philosophy. If you live by the yamas and niyamas your whole life turns into yoga.
I made that huge mistake that I gave my power away to someone and trusted them with guiding my ship, I didn’t anchor myself and I lost myself in the process and it turned out to be the most painful life lessons I ever had. I learned that I simply cannot afford the luxury of not grounding, not anchoring myself. In this crazy world we live in, I need my anchor every day, I have to protect it no matter what else I lose in the process or I lose balance. Losing balance affects me in every way—it affects my mood and my mental health, leads to anxiety, depression and loss of self confidence and pick up others negative vibes too easily. Regardless of what is happening around me, regardless of all of the changes my one constant is always: showing up for myself in my yoga practice. As long as I have that, I have a point to focus around and build my day from.
How does it benefit you?
- Allows you to have a focus point for your day. Something to work toward.
- Helps you stay disciplined which breeds motivation and confidence for the rest of your day/week.
- Provides you with an opportunity for growth even if your environment doesn’t.
- It certainly is something that brings you joy no matter what.
You don’t need to hit the gym at 4:30 every day as The Rock does or spend hours sweating on your yoga mat and follow yogic principles. Everyone is different, so you might find a very different anchor from mine or everybody else’s.
How to find your anchor?
To find your anchor think about your passions. What do you really LOVE doing? Think about the activities you not want to go without.
Once you have that idea, create a routine around it. This could be scheduling it for a certain time of the day or planning what you will do before or after this activity.
Don’t worry if the timing per day changes. If you start later one day or have to shorten the time on a particular day. Things in life will change, it always does, that is the way of life. And don’t worry if that anchor point changes over time, that’s a good thing, it means you’re evolving.
Once you have your anchor, no matter how the tides of your life may change you will find yourself being able to remain calm and concentrated on the things that matter to you. From there, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
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Photo: Luke McKeown via Unsplash