Over the past months I have noticed a direct correlation between the weather & the number of students attending yoga classes. When the rain is coming down by the bucket load the footfall drops dramatically.
Living in the Swiss Alps for five years, I walked to my yoga classes regardless of the weather. There was never a thought as to students being put off by the rain, snow or icy conditions.
How can we take better care of ourselves?
This made me think of my September blog on self-care & creating routines that support our wellbeing. Experience has taught me that these practices do not just magically happen. This is where planning & resolve come into play.
At the very minimum, my daily self-care ritual includes two of the following practices. These are the things that help to keep me on an even keel.
- Yoga movement practice
A daily walk is the newest addition. Not having a car in Switzerland meant that I walked to teach, to the supermarket & for pleasure. On returning to Manchester earlier this year, the switch to driving more & walking less happened immediately. It was only when I stopped that I realised how much I enjoy walking. The fresh air. The exercise. The time to think. The time not to think.
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” Alfred Wainwright, A Coast to Coast Walk
As I type, my jeans are damp & my hair is wet. I have just returned from a walk. It was raining when I left & raining when I got back. I can (& have) used weather as an excuse not to go out but I know I will feel better for it. The benefits will be felt long after I have dried out.
Resistance comes in all shapes & forms.
Too tired. Too wet. Too hungry. Too busy. Too cold. Needed by a partner/children/friend/dog/cat. Valid reasons perhaps but most likely they are driven by the pressure to be busy & purposeful. Taking time for ourselves is not a priority.
“We hold those who are on the tightest of schedules in reverence; the busier you are, the higher your status as a human being.” Ruby Wax, Sane New World: Taming the Mind
Contrary to common belief, busyness is not a virtue. Overwork, and the accompanying stress and exhaustion can make us less productive, disorganized and emotionally depleted. Self-care habits can reduce the toxic effects of stress by improving our mood and boosting our energy and confidence levels. This is what we need to remind ourselves when the excuse gremlin tries to sabotage our wellbeing plans!
Life has a habit of getting in the way of yoga
I never tire of students telling me how good they feel after a class. This happens most frequently when they return to yoga after a hiatus of a few weeks or months. There is a renewed impetus to attend regular classes, to go on retreat or to begin a self-led practice. The buzz is tangible, yet the momentum can be lost when the bar is raised too high.
My advice is to start small and a quick Google search revealed that all the experts say this too! If you want to have a regular yoga practice, begin with one session per week. Sow the seed of intention and find a class at a time & location that works for you. Set the intention in black & white by adding it to your schedule. If possible, book or pay for class in advance and strengthen your intention. Prepare for the class the evening before so you have everything ready, renew your resolve to go whatever the weather.
“How much we know ourselves is extremely important but how we treat ourselves is the most important.” Brené Brown, The Power of Vulnerability