This New Year why not make a new start you can stick to... ? Create the most powerful force for cha
It’s a fabulous tradition to start the New Year with lots of healthy resolutions so why do we often find we have given up on them half way through January?
One of the reasons that New Year’s Resolutions can be so hard to stick with is that we are often unknowingly setting resolutions which go against the natural rhythm of life. During winter our body is still wanting to hibernate so diets may be hard to maintain since we feel the need to eat well. Similarly, the vigorous exercise routines we launch ourselves into may be difficult to stick with as this season is geared more to moving slowly and conserving energy.
Unfortunately this means that highly restrictive diets and aggressive exercise routines are less likely to succeed at this time of year. The best time to make those kind of resolutions is in the spring when we are ready to start afresh, our energy (and the weather!) is supporting us and the passion for new beginnings is more easily stoked.
**This doesn’t mean that we should just give up... it simply means adopting a different approach is likely to work better!**
Taking a leaf out of the yogic book we can we can work with intentions rather than resolutions. Using an intention-based approach can give us aim and direction and it doesn’t set us up to fail when we miss an exercise class or eat too many calories.
Intentions aren’t wishy-washy though. They are focused and directive but just not as prescriptive as to how we need to achieve an outcome or what exactly that outcome should look like.
For example, a New Year’s Resolution might be to lose 10 pounds whereas a New Year’s intention might be to understand our relationship with our body better so that we can nourish ourselves with healthy habits. The resolution sets us up to succeed or fail whereas the intention opens up lots of different opportunities to explore what a healthy habit might be e.g. eating a balanced breakfast, enjoying more time outdoors, drinking more water or, of course, taking a weekly yoga class.
As you work with your intention you’ll increase your understanding of your own needs and nurture yourself at the same time as learning which of your healthier habits are working for you and when. Using the earlier example, you may find that healthier eating works well on certain days of the week or at certain times of day whereas just getting outside for a half hour walk may be easier on others.
Smaller intentions can also be set each morning to help support the overall intention. Take a moment each morning before the onslaught of the day to just connect to your breath and remind yourself of your overall intention. What you smaller intentions may be able to support you today? For example, if you’re facing a busy or stressful day then you could make sure you have some healthy snacks to hand as well as schedule in short breaks during the day where you release some of that stress and remind yourself of your own needs again.
The real beauty of yoga and the use of an intention-based approach is that they both give you the opportunity to reconnect to yourself. Instead of prescribing some kind of diet or routine that may not even be suitable for your body you’re providing yourself with the opportunity to understand and work your own natural rhythms. Instead of pushing yourself to achieve something you are setting up a new way of listening to and responding to your body’s feedback system.
Despite the image of yoga given in glossy magazines, yoga is not exercise. Whilst yoga poses build strength and flexibility in the body the intention of yoga (and of an intention-based approach to change) is to reconnect you to yourself.
Your breath provides you with a constant and instantaneous guide to support this deeper connection. If you’re pushing yourself too hard your breath with tell you, if you’re aanxious your breath will tell you and if you need a break, yes, your breath will tell you.
**All you need to do is pause and feel into your breath**
Immediately you do this, your awareness begins to focus within and the connection to yourself (and therefore your intentions) is strengthened. Most things in life become a little easier to handle as we reconnect to that strength within.
This New Year why not set yourself up to succeed with an intention-based approach that will serve you well in all areas... an intention that will not only provide you with a healthier connection to your body and mind but can also bring you back home to you.
Lime Yoga classes:
Tuesday Dynamic Yoga Flow 9:30-10:30 (Halos Clinic, Oxted)
Restarts 8th Jan
Tuesday Very Gentle Yoga 10:45-11:45 (Halos Clinic, Oxted)
Friday Mindful Yoga 11:30-12:40 (Ingledale Therapy Centre, Old Oxted)
Restarts 11th Jan
Saturday Mixed Abllity Yoga Flow 9:45-10:45 (Oxted Library First Floor Meeting Room, Oxted)
Restarts 12th Jan
*All classes suitable for beginners except Dynamic Flow Yoga on Tuesday
Prices for all classes are £10, except Friday classes which are £11.
*New clients who decide to take a block booking will get their first class refunded.
*All classes payable in advance for new students.
*’Drop in’ option is possible on Saturdays only to turn up and see if there’s space on the day costs £2 more per class. Space cannot be guaranteed though.
Rosie HaysomCertified Yoga Instructor,
BACP Registered Counsellor &
Founder of Yoga2Talk Therapy