Here we are: January. Most people don’t *love* January. It’s a dark contrast to the joy and bustle of December. However, as a Yoga studio owner, January is one of my favorite months. People flock back to the studio, all hyper motivated to reach their fitness goals. The energy of a full class feels so good, and I get to see faces of the people I have missed during December. However, I have been in this industry for long enough to know that the initial rush back to fitness/movement does not last. I have a few theories on why people fall off their healthy habit routines mid February. I’d also like to offer a different perspective: that movement is not just for your physical body; it’s for your mind.
What is your root motivation for getting into Yoga!? Flexibility? Weight loss? Bone density? Strength? Self esteem? Bikini season!? I find that the physical reasons always seem to play a large factor in a person’s decision to start a yoga practice. I get asked almost daily “will yoga help me lose weight?”. And while the answer is always a hesitant…. “Yes”….. what I really want to say is: why do you want to lose weight? Losing weight for health reasons is commendable for sure, and I don’t want to negate that BUT yoga will give you SO much more than just a slimmer waist. Yoga will teach you to love yourself, and to be happy in your skin. Yoga will give you profound respect for your body. And because of this deeper connection with self, you might make better food choices and sleep better and be more present. But if all you are focused on is the number on the scale, you might miss the other amazing benefits that a yoga practice can offer.
What if you forgot about the physical goals – what size you wear, how much you weigh – and instead focused on how you feel? What if you shifted your perspective when choosing 2023 goals? What if movement was all for your mind?
If you can go from “I want to lose 10 lbs” or “I want to touch my toes” to “I want to be more present” or “I want to feel less anxious”, then you are going to notice results immediately. The gratification is quick and the practice becomes addictive. You’re not going to lose 10lbs after one Yoga class, but you 100% will feel better than when you walked in. And because you feel better, you are likely to be kinder, sleep better, drink more water, be more mindful… yoga becomes this beautiful upwards spiral towards a healthier, more present, more gracious version of yourself.
My offering this year is that you set your resolutions based entirely off how you feel, not how you look. You already know that when you exercise, eat well, drink lots of water and prioritize sleep you *feel* better. I don’t need to tell you that. Consistency is key to facilitate change, and there will always be moments of weakness. What if you shifted your mindset to reflect your energy and emotions entirely. So when you get a craving for a bowl of ice cream, or a beer – don’t approach it from a mindset of “I can’t have that because I want to lose weight” to instead “how will I feel after I consume this”? When you feel tired and want to skip your vinyasa class, ask yourself “will I feel better if I go to yoga, or no”? And sometimes the answer might be “yes, order the poutine!” and “yes, skip yoga, I need to veg out in front of the TV”. But focusing on the feeling that you have allows those times to be a one-off, and not the pattern.
I’ll see you on the mat!