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Variety, Spice Up Your Life!

“Be where you are; otherwise you will miss your life.” - Buddha

Mindfulness begins from any moment we sit with our own thoughts...How am I feeling today...What does my body need today...What do I need today...?

Everyday we feel different, as we do different things everyday. Maybe we had a well rested weekend or a hectic week, a restful night of sleep or crazy school run... So it makes sense that every time we come to practice, our body feels different, our energy levels differ. Are we maybe forcing ourselves to liven up, pushing for more when we should be slowing down, listening, honoring that difference. Sometimes, just being where we are, where we are at, is what is better for us.

Practice Mindfully

When we arrive to practice, always take the time to explore what feels good, what feels different, what does your body or mind need today? Sometimes that may be that you don't take it to your full extent. It maybe an internal challenge of taking a step back, not to push yourself physically. A mental challenge of taking an ‘easier’/different options that is better for you. Self awareness, don’t force it, be kind to your body. Less is more.

Inspired by @julialaluneyoga yin yoga class on Sunday. She reminded me that “Variety is the spice of life” (Thanks to student that put this perfectly in words). Our body is designed to move and designed for variety. No one likes to sit at a desk all day, doing the same repetitive movements, your body definitely doesn't physically benefit from this - sore wrist from typing, hips tight from sitting all day. So why should your mind (mental health) or yoga practice be any different. Take the time to listen, function properly, increase your range of motion, expand your mind, strengthen, take a different variation, bring it back, breathe...Always listen and do what is best for your mind, body.

Variety is the Spice of Life

I am such a busy body, always thinking of what to do next, tick off the to do list, endless internal monologue, usually thinking about where I need to be next, how much time I have, time conscious all the time. (The nature of self employment work). Through yoga and travelling, I am so much better at going with the flow and most importantly being in the present. Knowing that to do better or to make the most out of a day is just to simply be. Be where I am.

“Be where you are; otherwise you will miss your life.” - Buddha

I was in Hamburg on the weekend and exhausted from a long work week. My natural go to is the busy body mindset – make the most out of the day, pack the whole day with activities. It was an internal battle of ''I should go walking all day, see sights and then go out out and check out the live music scene''; but completely wiped out I ended up sitting by the lake all day in the sunshine, then in bed by 9 pm.

In hindsight, I know that having that chill day was exactly what I needed. Julia’s class reminded me that we need variety, balance. As much as we work hard, play hard, we need to rest well too! I now look back to it thinking that was perfect, exactly what I needed. (At the time, I was enjoying it but also torn with my busy body mindset telling me I was being lazy, not making the most out of being in a different country - mentally challenging, internal nagging monologue). In the yin class we practiced reclined bound angle, Julia came over to use a strap to bring my knees closer (I am quite flexible in my hips so naturally always go to bring my knees out to the floor). Again it was a challenge to take a step back, give my hip openers variation, to know that even not at my full extent my body is doing work by not coming to my usual spot.

I love a good analogy, which Julia shared. When we’re doing the cleaning, we hoover and often revisit the same spots, every now and then we pull the bed or table out to hoover underneath, behind, in between. This is the same with our body we need to give attentions to different parts of our body! This helps with increasing range of motions, giving our body variation (e.g. knowing it is important to do different kind of exercises), maybe to bring it back to basics... breathe...

“Outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens.” - Anonymous

It isn’t always about pushing yourself. Don't be afraid to try a different perspective, something new, a bit different. It is just as important to rest well as much as it is to play hard and work hard; balance in all aspects of life. It may be that the challenge is with our ego, and not doing what we know is the challenge. If we were all the same, life would be so boring. So the same goes for our mind, body maintenance; explore movement, eat colourfully, explore different foods, explore different perspective. Variety is what give our life colour!

Always take the time to listen, check in. Is this good for me? Does this align with my intentions?

And, if you haven’t already, this is Julia’s last week in Manchester – She will teaching everyday at Withington baths this week ONLY. (Going to miss this girl!) I am excited to announce and honoured that I will be taking over her Friday classes in October.

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