We are always told that before you can be truly happy, you must first learn to love yourself. Easier said then done, right? Not many of us know how to love ourselves and show acceptance, more often than not we show judgement.
We spend so much time showing love for our family and friends that we forget about ourselves. How do you show yourself a bit of love? We might put things into our lives to try and make us feel happier, for example, seeing friends, going out, drinking a couple of glasses of wine. But do they actually make us happy or are they only surface level? This is where your yoga practice plays a part. Yoga teaches us to love our bodies, connects us to our emotions and brings acceptance into our current situations. Yoga allows us to let go of the self judgement and creates more room for self love and a deeper connection with our feelings.
We’re a few hours into 2017 and maybe you’ve already set your new years resolutions for the coming twelve months or maybe, like me, you don’t do resolutions.
A resolution often comes from a negative place, a sense of not being good enough and needing to change. For 2017, I would like you to set a Sankalpa or intention instead, you may have heard me talk about intentions in class. A Sankalpa can be made at any new beginning – a day, month, year or at the start of your yoga practice. These short, positive statements come from the heart and are said with commitment and a sense of self-love.
Here are a some examples –
- I am loving and loved
- I am successful in all tasks I undertake
- I am at peace
- I am strong and healthy
It might take you a while to come up with a Sankalpa, and that’s perfectly fine. Take a moment to sit and reflect on your goals for this coming year and turn them into a positive, committed intention from a place of love rather than negativity.
My main Sankalpa for this year is ‘I am motivated’ but as I sit and write this it’s almost 6pm on the 1st January and I’m still in my dressing gown… There’s always tomorrow…
The clocks have gone back, mornings are dark, the weather is miserable, bonfire night is upon us and winter is definitely almost here. It’s so easy to stay indoors wrapped up in your favourite jumper with the heating on full blast and watching endless hours of Netflix. Although I’m not knocking this (it’s one of my favourite things to do!) but we NEED to keep moving, keep motivated and keep our spirits up during the colder months. Keep your yoga practice going throughout winter to keep the winter blues away.
So why should we practice yoga in the winter?
- P O S T U R E / F L E X I B I L I T Y / S T R E N G T H – Naturally, we spend more time indoors during the winter which means we become stiff, tired and sore. By practising yoga it helps to alleviate these problems and keeps the body moving through the colder months with ease.
- I M M U N I T Y – Alongside a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water and sleeping, yoga and exercise can help strengthen your immunity and keep those colds away.
- E N E R G Y – During winter we can become sluggish and tired, a regular yoga practice will leave you feeling refreshed and energised.
- D E S T R E S S – Winter can be a very stressful time, with lots of events such as Christmas, New Years Eve, having an empty bank account and then the long drag to spring. Yoga gives us time to go inwards and for a moment forget about what’s going on around us and focus on the present.
Hope to see you in class soon x
“Change the way you look at things & the things you look at change”
How true is the above quote? How often have you been in a poop situation and naturally, the negative thoughts start rolling in and carrying you away until a huge black cloud is completely covering your once mostly positive outlook? Perhaps this happens quite often.
You can’t always change the situations you’re in or what’s happening around you but you can change your perspective. Whatever you’re going through, you have choices on how you view things. You can either choose to let that black cloud consume you or you can choose the positive route. I 100% feel that the most beneficial choice is to believe that whatever life throws at you, trust that the universe knows you’re strong enough to handle it. No matter how pants things can be, try and look on the bright side, focus on the positives and reflect on how far you’ve come and what you’ve learnt in the process.
Nothing lasts forever.
So we’re already over half way through the year, wow. Time flies when you’re having fun, right?!
Maybe you set a few new year’s resolutions, intentions or perhaps goals for 2016. Take a little while to reflect on the past six months, have you met those intentions? What’s happening in your life right now? Are you happy? What small steps could you take to become happy/content for the second half of the year? If you’ve read my previous blog post earlier in the year, you would know that I’ve had nearly a year now of complete life changes and even the past six months have been pretty turbulent. However, I’m now settled in a job that I love (alongside yoga!) and slowly getting back on track to where I want to be. Something that I’ve recently been reflecting on is that no matter how much life changes, I’ve always had my yoga practice to go back to for stability and balance (and sanity!).
Use this perfect time of year to reflect, write down your thoughts and feelings for the year so far and go back to them at the end of the year. Remember, keep it positive.
I don’t know about you but I’m absolutely exhausted and completely overwhelmed by all of the negativity around at the moment. The football violence, Donald Trump silliness, pictures of animal cruelty on social media, people being killed and now the EU referendum results is enough to make you want to pack up your things and move to a deserted island away from all of this. Sadly we can’t always do that. So what can we do?
S O C I A L M E D I A – It’s SO easy to become swept up in negativity online, it’s so easy to become caught up in online debates (especially at the moment!) and it’s definitely easy to come across pictures of horrible things that you really don’t need to see on a daily basis. However, it’s also just as easy to stop scrolling. Limit your social media usage and ask yourself what you’re actually gaining from spending hours looking through your newsfeed.
B R E A T H E – Sometimes that’s the only thing you can do, breathe and keep present. There is no point in worrying, worrying will only stress you out more. Focus on the present moment and the positive feelings and actions of people around you. There is positivity around you if you look.
C O N N E C T – Remember that we are one, we are all connected. No matter who gets elected, EU or no EU, WE are the ones who have the power to strive to be compassionate, peaceful and connected human beings without barriers. “The greatest illusion in this world is the illusion of separation.”
F A L L I N G B E H I N D
I recently wrote a post on my facebook page about feeling like you’re falling behind in life. It got SO many responses, I didn’t realise how many people could relate to it, so I’ve decided to write a blog post about it. I realise that I’ve been super lazy with blogging and most things social media related but I’m trying to change that starting from now!
I’ve recently read a few articles about this feeling of ‘falling behind in life’ which made me realise that was exactly how I was feeling at the time. I’m now closer to thirty than I am twenty, which is a crazy, daunting feeling and up until twelve months ago my life was pretty much planned out. However, shit happens and now I’m living in a house share again, working at a job I worked at whilst I was at university and trying to savour the yoga classes that I teach. It seemed around me that all my friends were getting engaged, having babies, getting promotions, going travelling, and I was just stuck. Stuck feeling nineteen again (and not the great feelings of 2009 dancing in Coco Tang every week drinking Turkish Delight cocktails). After six months of feeling down about where I’m currently at in life, a couple of weeks ago I realised that I’m actually exactly where I need to be right now. And you are too. You are exactly where you need to be in this moment.
Life happens, crud things happen, really crud things happen and then great things happen too (trust me, those great moments do happen if you allow them to). We are all human. Let yourself be, give yourself a break. Stop trying to control things that are simply out of your control, let go. Stop comparing your life to a filtered Instagram photo of a ridiculously attractive couple with cute little babies baking vegan cakes on a Spring Sunday afternoon. Stop reading mindbodygreen articles about’10 ways to be happy’, it’s perfectly okay to feel sad or angry or whatever emotion you want to feel because YOU ARE HUMAN. Take a step back, breathe and let life happen.
Embrace where you’re currently at, keep your head up and keep those positive vibes rolling. One day you will realise that this moment makes perfect sense and who knows where you’ll be this time next year.