I have always been a big fan of online yoga. It was the natural progression from my yoga DVDs with the legendary Barbara Currie, and it gave me the opportunity to learn so much more.
I’ve enjoyed Ashtanga classes with teachers from all across the world, learned how to balance in crow pose, worked on my back bends and splits, and even taken my first ever Restorative Yoga class all delivered through my laptop screen.
Yoga with Adriene is on another level though. She offers a 30-day yoga challenge each January and I have loved taking part in previous years. This year I was all geared up to get started. I had printed out my schedule, left out my yoga outfit and my mat was all primed and ready. It all looked good, the ground-work was there but the motivation never really materialised.
I did a few of the classes and they were great! I loved the way Adriene felt like my friend, guiding me through my practice as if we were on this journey together. During the classes I felt challenged, encourage and inspired. But as soon as I stepped off my mat, that was where the motivation left me.
As days went by I found it harder to return to the mat, the schedule I had printed out lay there unticked and I was starting to feel like a bit of a failure in 2023, despite it being less than 30 days old at the time.
Many yoga teachers have offered a challenge during January, almost a let’s grab the new year by the horns and get started type of thing. This is brilliant, if the motivation is there to see things through. But I have struggled with motivation and it wasn’t until I took a step back that I realised why.
Winter is not a time to start new things, according to the lovely Traditional Chinese Medicine philosophers – and they knew what they were talking about! It’s a time to rest, recharge, to coorie in for a bit and preserve our energy. This is not the time for eating salads and drinking smoothies – it’s all about soup and soothing cups of tea. When we carve out this time to recharge, we can capitalise on the upsurge of yang energy with spring and the motivation will be there to carry us through any new ventures.
Right now my body and mind are in hibernation mode. I’ve spent December and the first half of January, like so many, nursing a cold or trying to dodge the next one. The dark nights, miserable weather and January blues have all left me drained and this is not a great place to be when spring begins to sprinkle its’ magic.
So I gave myself permission to quit the lovely Yoga with Adriene’s 30-day challenge, with the promise (to myself) that I will revisit it when my energy levels are more aligned with this type of practice. And as soon as I adjusted my mindset to allow myself to take what I needed, I felt better about it. I now have this 30-days of yoga to look forward to, and they will benefit me so much more than if I forced myself to do it now.
Over the course of my yoga studies my yoga practice has evolved to take more account of my energy levels, how I’m feeling and what’s going on around me. Right now I am focusing on yin practices to help me replenish the energy I’ve lost through seasonal bugs over the last month or so. This is also supporting me to get a great sleep at night, which is one of my top priorities. Along with focusing on eating warm, nourishing food and enjoying the odd treat I am beginning to work my way through the water element with a bit more flow and energy.
While I’ve not been on my yoga mat every day, I have been making a huge effort to meditate. For me, this is an important part of my day and one I want to make non-negotiable – like brushing my teeth. Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated, it can be as straight-forward as following each breath.
Here’s a short guided meditation video which is a brilliant place to start if you’ve never meditated before. This beginner’s friendly meditation focuses the mind on counting the breaths, drawing the attention back as the mind begins to wander. Give it a go first thing in the morning for a week and notice if you feel just a little bit more at ease.
Want to learn more about how to slow down, manage stress and ease anxiety through yin yoga? Then join me Ten to Zen – Yin Edition course, starting Monday 13 February 2023. It’s free and it’s exactly what you need if you’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately.