Recently, we’ve been exploring the idea of transition and change, and how this can sometimes throw us off our routines and habits.
When we feel tired, lethargic and unmotivated, it can be really difficult to get up, roll our mat out and start moving our bodies. But as I mentioned last week, even when we don’t feel like doing yoga, we can still find ways to make our practice enjoyable and less of a “chore”.
Often, when we think what we want to do is snuggle up on the sofa with a hot cuppa and a blanket, what we actually need is a boost of energy to help keep us going!! And our yoga practice can be just the thing! As we already know, Yoga is about balance, so often we need to do the opposite of what we think we want/need.
(But remember, you can also have the best of both worlds and stick an episode of Friends on Netflix and roll around on the floor with a yoga strap!!)
The sunshine coming back has made me feel much more energised again, so let's celebrate by re-energising ourselves in our practice this week!
The title of this week’s blog post may be a little misleading. Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that we will be spending all week lying in savasana, or practicing an hour of yoga nidra in each session - just to clear that up ;-) Instead, we are focusing on how we can move through our yoga practice during those periods when we really feel like we don’t want to.
To quote R. Kelly, quite often “my mind’s telling me no, but my body is telling me yes”!
It is perfectly normal to have those days, weeks, maybe even months whereby we struggle with getting back into (or starting) the things that we know will actually make us feel better - the things that our bodies are crying out for. Our minds often (over)rule our bodies, and our flow just gets completely thrown off and those healthy habits we’ve tried to pick up start to fall by the wayside!
I certainly feel like this more often than I care to admit! Some weeks, my yoga practice is very slow, consisting of only a few poses/stretches, or simply breath-work and meditation! Particularly at this time of year as the pace of life starts to slow down again, and the colder weather and shorter days are drawing in - I just have a little less energy.
When we are feeling like this but also trying to stick to our habits, it is important to set ourselves realistic goals so as to not feel overwhelmed. With regards our yoga practice, this might mean that we do less, but with more feeling. Sometimes just practicing one pose (with attention and awareness) can do more for us than pushing ourselves through a longer practice with a distracted mind. With the pressure off, we can enjoy it more and might actually want to practice for longer. This makes it feel less like a chore, and something that has evolved naturally.
Another motivational tool for when we’re feeling off our game is to seek out some inspiration. Watching an instructional video or reading an article or blog can prompt us to try it for ourselves.
If you are really finding yourself struggling with sticking to a regular yoga practice then it might be worth trying a different style of yoga, or dare I say it, a different teacher!! Perhaps you haven’t quite found what works best for you yet. Or sign up for a block of classes or to an online Yoga platform - once the commitment is made you just need to turn up without having the "should I, shouldn’t I?" debate with yourself each week.
Starting is the hardest part. Once you’re back in to the swing of things continuity will get easier.
And if all else fails, practice savasana or yoga nidra!!
The feeling of transition the autumnal air brings inspired me to focus on embracing change in our practice last week. In turn, this got me thinking about the concept of "fresh-starts", and how we might create new habits in our lives in order to adjust and adapt to external changes.
Fairly often, it is usually after I have focused on a particular intention for the week, that conversations, comments and/or particular circumstances arise that really bring meaning and weight to that intention.
Last Thursday, just as my classes for the week were drawing to a close and I was thinking about how "creating new habits" would follow on really nicely from the intention of “embracing change”, I received an email from the online yoga platform "Movement for Modern Life" entitled "Moving in to Healthy Habits" - The universe does work in weird and wonderful ways sometimes!
Just as I had been explaining last week, the email reiterated that at the start of the new academic year it can feel a bit like the “summer has left us ragged around the edges”! It emphasised how the summer time can get a bit hectic for most of us, and “we’re not the person we were before it all began, so now is the perfect opportunity for fresh new starts”. Or maybe bringing back some of those healthy habits you had before the summer that may have gone out of the window during those glorious sunny months! “Starting the new term or getting back to work brings a new chance to change any daily habits or routines that haven’t been serving you and to start over”.
So whether it is getting back in to your yoga practice; giving yourself back that “you-time” to do something that makes you happy and relaxes you; starting healthy eating habits; or whatever it may be, let’s focus on this fantastic opportunity to hit the reset button and have a positive transition in to the Autumn season.
Change can be difficult for most of us.
However, as we move in to the new academic year and towards our glorious English autumn, change is inevitable and unavoidable.
Being products of nature ourselves, we cannot help but feel the effects of these changes in our environment - and as our yoga practice teaches us, it is easier to go along with them than to resist them.
Practising yoga during this time is a fantastic way to help us stay grounded, and embrace change as a positive opportunity for growth.
Our yoga practice this week will be focused on the internal changes we can make in order to cope with life’s transitions.
(P.S. The picture of the piglet has nothing to do with embracing change, but look how cute he is <3!!)