Welcome back. Did you have a nice break?
I love a break! Stepping out of a routine gives the space to reassess where we are and how we want to move forward over the next few months. I, without any fight or resistance, slipped off the Yoga asana wagon during the Christmas Holiday. And I’m ok with that, because getting back into the flow of a practice, or some kind of routine tastes all the sweeter. And I think it’s a wonderful time to start afresh, but sometimes the pressure and expectation to wipe off the decadence and debauchery clean from December’s slate always leaves me feeling a little uneasy.
Dust off the trainers, in fact throw out those trainers and buy yourself a new pair; eat nothing but cucumbers with cauliflower rice and set your tracker to your PB then hit the pavement running head first, hurtling towards that crossing line in the distance that appears so loosely draped across February’s shoulders which will only lightly dissolve into the bright sun with each nearing step. Sooo….no I don’t really get on board with the big January push. I don’t do January sales, I don’t do January diets (or any month for that matter), and I don’t subscribe to challenges or buy fitness gimmicks online. I don’t set myself unrealistic targets like 6 am workout routine and (controversially) I don’t do dry January. I’m not saying these resolutions don’t work, I’m sure that for many they do but I’m so sceptical of the fitness and wellness industries that I’ve retreated to a space where I’m less likely to set myself up for failure. So there are all my don’ts, I guess that just leaves the do’s. So without further ado my January Do’s.
1. Early to bed.
Early to bed and early to rise…. So much wisdom in one little poem. I wasn’t always an early to bed kinda gal but I fully believe that most of my problems can certainly be eased by a good night’s sleep. And in January those dark evenings and moody mornings are still so very present and my body is craving long deep sleeps and time to really rest and I will listen.
2. Early to rise.
And early to rise comes much easier when you have had a good night’s sleep. Of course there might still be a little resistance but I’m not even talking super early here, preferably before other inhabitants of your home stir. And trust me though nothing sets you up like that fresh air in the morning, the calmness of this city or if you’re lucky the stillness of the countryside.
3. I return to a daily asana practice.
I would love to say I keep up my daily practice during the holidays but it’s an intention I drop nearly every year. I guess getting on the mat just isn’t part of the plan after the 24th of December for me. But luckily they don’t revoke your yoga card for that.
So you didn’t do Triangle on the 25th of December big deal. Returning to your practice now you can completely savour the sensations and quality of movement, it’s like being a fresh new beginner on the mat when it all felt so curious and exciting. Also waves of appreciation flood my system when I get back into the Flow because I remember this is the practice that gave me the tools to support my body and mind, to help develop proprioception, interoception and kinaesthetic focus in regulating the body, the breath and the mind. Translation: it’s a superpower and it’s at our fingertips. Remember as you step back into your body you should practice with curiosity and listen attentively. Stepping back on the mat after a break requires patience and care.
4. I continue/return to a meditation practice.
I definitely always try to maintain a meditation practice, even just for five minutes. Alas it can slip by the way side too when you’re day to day routine goes. So simple steps to returning to your practice can be a few minutes in the morning after you’ve showered and dressed and then again before you sleep. If you prefer a guided meditation I highly recommend Insight Timer.
5. I don’t feel guilty.
Yep I can’t do it. It’s a waste of time and energy and if I really want to, there are tons of other things I can feel guilty about. But skipping my yoga practice, overindulging in delicious food, sleeping in because I’m tired or staying up late because I’m having too much fun won’t be reasons to berate myself. We all know it, we all say it but life is short and how we think and speak to ourselves change our words and changes how we feel and how we make others feel. So as you return to your life, to yourself, to your routine just remember to be kind to yourself.