We’ve all done it. We get excited. We put 110% effort in. We convince everyone around us, and ourselves, that this is it. This is MY time! Change is bound to happen!
A very open statement – it’s designed to be. This could be relevant to eating habits, relationships, study... You could even apply it to the occasional spring clean we all do when we work up the courage to dive deep into cupboards swallowed by boxes of useless junk.
For the purpose of this blog, I’m going to focus on, you guessed it, yoga! Surprise!
I’ve spoken to countless numbers of people who feel disappointed with themselves for struggling to maintain a regular yoga practice. Countless numbers! So if you’re one of those people who can relate, believe me, you’re not alone. And I believe there are greater forces at work, which contribute to these struggles you experience.
Very clever marketing tactics focus on messages that arouse feelings. If we as consumers can be made to ‘feel’ something as a response to the campaign, then it’s likely to be more memorable for us. In the health and fitness industry, a lot of marketing has subtle guilt lacing the messages. When we feel guilty, we tend to make impulse decisions and so begin that vicious cycle of “excited, 110% effort, convincing everyone now is it!”… Sound familiar?
Yoga has become super trendy here in the west. I mean, “super trendy!” I’m sorry people, but if you’re not doing yoga, then you are just not cool enough. It’s so ridiculous.
IT'S ALL ABOUT WHY
About 7 years ago, when I was really struggling with stress from work, healthy eating went down the toilet and I was somewhat non-functional without my glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Sad. I know.
Talk about a punishing routine. By morning: I trained 6 mornings a week for 2 hours, near killing myself at the gym followed by a 40 minute walk with my dog. By night: I headed for the wine, the chocolates and anything that could temporarily curb my dissatisfaction with my life at the time.
Yoga was an effort. I was so resistant to the practice. I was frustrated by it. I’m a fast paced person, and lying down in a room with all these other people for 3-5 minutes during ‘relaxation’ was such a waste of my time! I could be at home watching T.V.
I often explain to people that yoga and I were not friends to begin with. And this is absolutely no joke. We really weren’t.
Until one day… It was like a light bulb moment for me when I started thinking about “why” I was practicing rather than the goal I was looking to achieve. I wanted to feel good. I began thinking about the individual functions of my body and ask the question, “what is this piece of chocolate doing to me once I eat it? How will my body respond?” I began to look at practices like yoga, jogging, meditating, and eating well as life giving. I looked at foods I ingested and sought to understand the benefits/consequences of the food. By thinking this way, my 3.00am yoga practice became an easy choice. I had found my clarity of purpose. I knew I was respecting my body by maintaining my practice. I would visualize my internal organs squeezing as I twisted, knowing beautiful fresh blood would flow back to them as I released, detoxifying them and making my body healthier.
I became very mindful of my thinking and rather than looking out there for the benefits of the practice, for example being able to fit into a size 2 pant, I looked inward. For when I looked inward, I could feel. I was able to connect on a far deeper level than ever before.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
I encourage you to bring your awareness inward when you’re looking for answers. There is nothing out there. Marketing is powerful as it evokes feelings, if done well, but at the end of the day we need to be a little more conscious about our decisions. Everything is marketing in one form or another. God, if I were completely honest, even this blog post would be indirectly promoting yoga! Let’s not beat around the bush here. We are so bombarded with marketing messages that choices around what to eat for dinner, what to wear, what to read, what school to go to, how many children to have, what gym to train at, are already made for us.
Never before has listening to our intuition, to our gut, been so tough. We have become so desensitized that we tend to trust every body else’s opinions above our own. But let me ask you this, “how’s that working out for you?”
Start looking inward. Start listening to your body. Start questioning why you do the things you do, why you eat what you eat and how this might be impacting upon your overall health. When you do so, and I mean really do this, creating a regular practice will not only become a necessity for you, but it will become a pleasure.