Winter is the downtime in the seasons. We slow down, we hunker down and go outside less, especially during bad weather. In general, we are less active. It's the perfect time to look inward! What works, what doesn't, what do you want to dump, keep add...? Sometimes easier said than done. Maybe you start with a journal and notice the trends? Could be daily, could be weekly, could be as simple as a few words at the start and end of each day. Some prompts:
Defining Scarborough Yoga... we had a teachers meeting yesterday and went around the Zoom gallery sharing what classes we teach and why. In all classes (Yoga Nidra, Mindfulness Yoga, Functional Movement Yoga, Gentle Flow Yoga, Yin Yoga, Yin & Core, Movement & Stillness) we share a common GOAL: We want to help you develop skills on your mat, that make navigating life off the mat easier.
The approaches will vary, but the end result is to help you slow down and create space in your physical self, in your emotional self, in your breath and in your mind. It's like strengthening a muscle or learning a new skill...the more you practice the easier it become to access that space and apply it to life.
Life tests us. Sometimes the test is that nothing is happening...other times it is that everything is happening all at once. This past year has been a long, complex, and emotional test. Give your self permission to be ok with feeling overwhelmed or stressed as we emerge from the pandemic. Just because life is returning to "normal", "normal" is yet another layer in the evolution of a pandemic, until it is not. Feeling overwhelmed is natural and perhaps it offers a fresh start.
Thanksgiving, a day of giving thanks, of expressing gratitude in ways that have morphed over the years. What are you grateful for? It should be so simple and can be for one day. Now think about this...what if you lived a life of gratitude? What shifts might you experience then? Even just thinking about it is exciting! Building a new habit or changing a habit can be challenging. I researched the studies I saw everything from forming a healthy habit taking 21 to 90 days, starting a bad habit can be done in two, and changing a negative habit up to 180 days.
My friend and beloved yogi Sagel Urlacher described the mind like both teflon and velcro. When we experience thoughts of joy, happiness, gratitude we live them and move on; they slide easily off the teflon mind. When we experience a negative feeling, we tend to dwell on it: how we felt, what we could have done differently, why did we deserve that experience. The mind is like velcro with the negative thoughts. They stick. So how how do we reduce that velcro affect for the negative and increase it for the positive? Wouldn't it help to practice noticing what is going right, what we are grateful for? I think so!
From today through Thanksgiving, I challenge you to come up with 3 things each day that you are grateful for and they must be unique things each day.
1) An inherent or cultivated trait or ability of your own
2) A person in your life
3) Something that is positive or going right in your life
Assess the results
After 7 days think about a second 7 days.
I love it when science supports the practice! It's like a kick in my pants. The benefits of yoga are supported over and over again: lower stress, lower blood pressure, lower anxiety, more stability and flexibility, better balance, improved immune system, ease of breath, brain health and so many more...the bigger question is why aren't we taking advantage of utilizing the practice? Perhaps it's like the cobbler's kids who had no shoes. You have to make the time and hold it sacred. Even if it's 10 minutes. Sometimes easier said than done. This article was published in Sept 2019...maybe it's the kick you need to look to build yoga into your daily routine.