Did you feel that slight chill in the air over the last few days? Can you sense that autumn is nearly here? No matter how old you are, this time of year creates a familiar back to school mentality. There’s a shift and change in our priorities and a desire to make the most of what feels like a fresh start.
For many, it’s also the beginning of a busy time of year. The lightness and ease of long summer days gives way to meeting deadlines, making plans, and preparing for more time spent indoors. This often means self-care gets pushed to the side-lines. When your to-do list is already jam-packed, it can quickly feel like another chore you don’t have time to complete.
So why do yoga? SOL expert Clem Balfour explains the benefits of a daily practice and shares advice to help you get back on the mat now the summer holidays are over…
Yoga has become a ritual in my life, a daily habit that reminds me to pause, listen, take a few deep breaths, and slow down. What normally starts first thing in the morning as a few simple movements on the mat has a ripple effect that impacts every aspect of my day.
Yoga reminds us to notice and enjoy the simplicity and beauty of life’s finer details, things like sounds, textures, smells, and our breath. It’s an invitation to come to this moment, clean the slate, stand up and regain balance.
Rather than diving into tasks, yoga can help you organise and prioritise your day. If you pause, take a few breaths, and slow down, you might even realise some of the things you’ve been worrying about are a total waste of time.
Here are a few tips to help you get back into a daily yoga practice now the summer holidays are over…
Create a Habit
Set a regular time to practice each day. Try blocking out 15 minutes, at least three mornings a week, but don’t worry if you only fit in one or two sessions initially. You’ll soon start to notice how it feels if you skip a practice. Rather than making yourself feel guilty, recognising the benefits and missing the positive impact of yoga should help motivate you to make it a priority.
Keep It Simple
Get out of bed and roll out your mat, don’t over think it. Lie or sit down and start noticing your breath for a few minutes. Try and be intuitive with your body. How does it want to move today?
Do What Feels Right
Try to focus less on the physical side of your daily yoga practice and how you think it’s meant to look. Instead, spend time noticing how certain postures make you feel. What sensations come up in different poses? What postures do you feel more drawn to? Try jotting down a few notes about each practice in a journal to help you identify any patterns or shifts.
Your practice doesn’t have to look and feel the same every day. You might find you get on the mat for 15 minutes, but before you know it 30 or 40 minutes have passed. When we’re in flow and moving without the restriction of time, we’re learning to cultivate and build trust with our body and our practice. This can act as a good reminder that it’s ok to take time out for yoga, knowing your to-do list will still be there when you’re done and that you’ll be able to work in a much more calm and focused way.
Mix It Up
You don’t have to limit yourself to practicing at home. Joining a class or attending a studio once a week can help you feel more confident and motivated to continue.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology revealed it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. Be patient with yourself, keep practicing, and don’t worry if you miss a few days. Try to focus on the act of getting yourself on the mat each day. Half the effort is just showing up!
Love Clem, Lizzie and the SOL team x