Does anyone else feel like they've aged about 100 years in the last 12 months?
Our bodies are so good at preserving energy that if we're not careful, our fail-safe 'use it or lose it' response kicks in, meaning that we get a bit slower and ploddier (mentally and physically!) and we have to put in extra effort to get it all back again. I'm definitely feeling very slow and ploddy at the moment, and I don't think I'm alone there.
Whether you feel like it or not, we've all done great jobs of keeping ourselves going over the last year, but in order to deal with the extra stress and strain throughout, in all likelihood something had to give. Don't get me wrong, I can be lazy without the excuse of a pandemic, but the more people I speak to, the more I realise that a lot of us kept on top of things like housework with the help of external accountability, or a deadline - usually someone coming to visit - and without that impetus, it's become a hell of a lot harder to keep on top of! I am definitely one of those people, and as motivation and energy have lagged, you may have found it's become harder to look after yourself too.
I know from years of practice that yoga makes me feel better, both mentally and physically, but still I find it hard to get my butt on the mat when I'm feeling sluggish.
As much as in some ways it has been harder to complete my yoga teacher training during a pandemic and start as a new teacher during lockdown, I'm sure it also did me a world of good as I would definitely have found it much harder to exercise without the external accountability of teaching. When I'm not teaching, the guaranteed way to get me on the mat is to book me into a paid class. I need that external accountability as otherwise, I will find an excuse to give myself a break. Don't get me wrong, it's always true that I am tired, I feel flat, I have had a long day, I didn't sleep well, I am feeling stressed etc. etc. etc. but 99% of the time, getting on the mat will make me feel better. And I'm not talking about a super high energy class in this scenario, where "it only counts if you're covered in sweat", I mean anything from HIIT to restorative yoga.
That's what seems so counterintuitive sometimes. Especially with YouTube, we can have access a huge resource of gentle, relaxing classes - next to no energy required - to help with stress and sleep, guaranteed to make you feel better, but even then I still struggle to get on the mat. It's not because I have any doubt about how that class will make me feel, I know from years of practice that yoga makes me feel better, both mentally and physically, but still I find it hard to get my butt on the mat when I'm feeling sluggish.
So, assuming I'm not alone, I want to know if there's any way that we can help each other.
I love to share the benefits of yoga - and I'm not talking about being more flexible or Instaposes, for a start this is just the physical practice of yoga (asana) - I'm talking about learning to be accepting of your body, whatever you've got going on and whatever shape or size; knowing that your thoughts do not define who you are as a person and that you can train your brain to find contentment and understanding; learning to be more compassionate towards yourself and others, and therefore find that your relationships are better because you can let go of resentment or pain; and better understand what and who matter most to you.
What does a regular practice look like to you?
We're still in a bit of a transitional state where the promise of normality is getting closer and getting back to work (for those of us who have been working from home, or furloughed) is edging nearer or has arrived, but it's likely that we may still need to put in some extra groundwork or investment at this stage to get good habits embedded, and our mental and physical health boosted, ready for the 'new normal'.
I want to know how you are feeling about your current health
From some initial research, my current students would like to see a continuation of online classes, especially the gentle wind down evening classes - both asana and meditation - and the morning wake up classes, beyond May. So I think it's very likely that I will be continuing to teach online for the foreseeable future, ideally with the addition of some in-person classes if I can make it all work alongside my other employment.
But I want to know how you are feeling about your current health, whether you have a regular physical practice (yoga or otherwise) and whether you are doing anything to look after your mental health at the moment? If you're happy with how you're doing, you're keeping your body moving and you prioritise taking time to check-in with your mental health, then that is fantastic. If this isn't you, then is there something I can do to help with that?
What can we do together to make you feel happier, stronger and healthier?
I would like to be able to offer a range of practices to fit all budgets, whether these are free online classes (though as covered above, there are already so many out there, so are more free classes really what's needed?), weekly classes, or a more regular set of classes in a membership format. My classes are currently offered as part of a monthly membership or pay-as-you-go format with a collective of Hampshire yoga and pilates teachers, but I am intrigued by the weekday membership offer, as this is something that I personally respond to, and the more I have read about developing good practices, brain training and neuroplasticity, the more potential I see in harnessing the power of building habits.
So I ask you...
If I were to offer a £30 monthly membership of x3 weekly 30-min online morning yoga classes, (that averages out at just £2.30 per class!) available live and on-demand, would you sign yourself up?
Or do you feel as though those options already exist but they don't appeal to you, or don't fit into your lifestyle at the moment?
If this sounds like something you would like, then please let me know and I will look to make it happen. If you are after something but that isn't it - tell me! I am teaching to share yoga, not to become an Instagram famous contortionist (that is so never going to happen!), so if there's a block for you that I can remove - tell me!
In case you didn't know, I do also offer 121 classes, so if you're not feeling ready to join a group class or would like additional support, I think that private classes are awesome so head to my booking page to find out more.
But most of all...
I hope you're doing okay and that despite the changeability of April weather, you're managing to find some joy in the moments of sunshine and wrapping up warm in the showers (or snow!). Get outside as much as you can, say good morning to strangers and be kind to yourself. Let yourself rest when you're feeling tired but move your body as much as you can - it will thank you for it.
Sending love, a virtual hug and a silly face to make you smile,
Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or comments.