new year yoga


As we move into Lockdown 3.0, I am here to tell you that you do not need to force yourself to see the brightside, be grateful, to think positively, and be strong, and especially when what we are collectively going through is hard. It’s absolutely okay to feel disappointment.

Perhaps the start of 2021 isn’t what you imagined or hoped it would be. Lockdown isn’t normal and normal productivity is for normal times. But we can try to adapt a little without placing undue pressure on ourselves.

Some of us may have already resolved to change our exercise and eating habits for the New Year. However, in stressful times like these, our brains are hardwired to resist change and we are more likely to self-sabotage ourselves.

Motivation is a temporary emotion. And combined with willpower comes from our thinking and decision part of our brain, which when overloaded with worry, stress, and anxiety, makes it difficult for us to resist unhealthy choices.

What does not help are media influencers, lifestyle coaches, gurus, fitness trainers, and social commentators publicising that lockdown will give us the space to work on ourselves as some kind of self-improvement project whether mentally, physically, or spiritually. Hurtful unkind terror tactics in instigating lifestyle changes do not work either, especially when they hint at laziness, that only aim to make us feel guilt-ridden, or bad about ourselves.

What psychology tells us, that instead of starting with what we may think is wrong with us, we should always start with what is already right, and work from there, celebrating each tiny gain until they eventually become bigger ones.

“No pain, no gain” is a common toxic fitness mantra; but what we all need is to cultivate self-compassion and self-care instead. Yoga and Mindfulness are both, and about cultivating emotional resilience and listening to our bodies, not pushing through or avoiding pain and emotions.

And I am not talking about Power Yoga, Hiit Yoga, and Yoga for Weight Loss.

They are still selling the ideals of perfection that come from commercial exploitation to profit from our self doubt. Personally I don’t enjoy diets, eating lettuce and eyelashes for dinner. And as for detox diets, we have a liver, kidneys and an excretory system that does that perfectly well for us.

Fostering balance and contentment are the keys to well-being, and cleanses and fasting can be stressful on our body’s systems and especially during this time. Moreover, the problem with New Year resolutions is that failing to reach them can be demoralising. But what if we cared about our mental well-being more than we care about our weight? And what if you do not have the time in between homeschooling and work during lockdown?

When we live life on our own terms looking at what we can control, rather than what we cannot, and tap into what we enjoy, by managing our energy, not our time, and focusing on the ‘now’, not long term goals or benefits, even it you are just setting the alarm and making your bed at the start of each day, we often find that motivation comes after action and not before.

Start small. Show up.

Congratulate yourself on each small win no matter how tiny, and if it does not happen today, and you get sidelined by an issue or your own emotions, tomorrow is always a new day.

Our intention at Yoga Therapy Hull, at the beginning of 2021, is to help nurture your overall well-being. We recognise that at a time that we may be suffering from the winter blues with less energy we are also stressed with the pandemic and the effects of Lockdown.

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