On Yoga and Getting on the Mat

Melanie and I are both welcoming 2017 by (re)committing to our respective yoga practices. Our fave YouTube yoga guide, Yoga with Adriene, is hosting another 30 day schedule to kick off the New Year right! Since 2016’s been a bit of a whirlwind, we’re looking forward to the feelings of balance and groundedness that our yoga practice brings.

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A tree among trees

I tried this at the beginning of 2016, and I made my goal to do “yoga every darn day!” but I didn’t follow through quite as thoroughly as I wish I had. I think in order to keep my goal a bit more manageable, that beyond this yoga challenge I hope to continue to practice 3 times a week, hopefully with some jogging and other cardio on 3 other days throughout the week. I did so well on my 2016 goal to improve my diet that it’s time to incorporate the activity goal!

I started practicing yoga years ago – maybe in 2011? My brother had a coworker who was training to be a yoga teacher, and we were regularly attending her practice classes at our local yoga studio. I remember very vividly one adjustment she gave me: we were in a wide-legged forward fold (one of my favourite postures to this day) and she pressed her palm from the base of my spine to my neck to help me lengthen. It was such a hot room, and I was so sweaty, but I remember thinking it was amazing that she wasn’t shy to connect that way under the circumstances. In that moment I fell in love with something about yoga.

Through the years, my practice has been a bit of a rollercoaster. There are months where I practice 4 times a week, others where I don’t practice at all. I go through periods where all I want to do is build strength through yoga, and other periods where I really just need to chill out and relax on the mat. My goal this year is to be more consistent about the frequency of my practice – no more many-month hiatus’! I will not tolerate it! – but I’m very okay with the fact that the way I practice will forever be changing. Some days, weeks, months, years, I will be all about the power flow, and others I will just need to satisfy my yin craving. That’s all okay, because my yoga is about listening to myself and finding what feels good to me.

What I love about yoga is that it encourages me to check in. It’s an activity where I can’t help but notice what’s going on in my mental world. When I’m lying in savasana at the end of a hard practice, it’s impossible for me to ignore how I’m feeling. Some days the final resting pose is easy peasy and I’m able to turn off and just breath and relax; others, my mind races so fast that I could jump out of my skin. Both of those extremes are okay, and so is everything in between, and it informs the way that I move through the rest of my day.

I am lucky that right now I work at a yoga studio and get to observe the way a whole bunch of people practice, from teachers to seasoned yogis and new ones, too. I basically talk about yoga all day so it’s impossible for me to not learn something new to incorporate into my practice or ponder. Everyone has something different and important to teach me if I keep my mind open.

So – there’s my goal for the year: more activity, more yoga, and an open mind to accept that my practice will always be in flux. What do you want to do more of (or less of!) in the New Year? Share with us: we want to cheer you on!

Love,

Stephanie

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