We all talk about how to make the New Year the best year ever, right? I know you’ve read at least one article about how to change your life completely in 2016.
I’ve noticed a switch in those articles over the last few years. No longer are we being encouraged to empty out our fridges on Jan. 1 and fill it with only fresh veggies from Whole Foods. Do you remember when we were supposed to use the drawers in the fridge for yogurt, eggs and cheese and display the veggies attractively on the shelves so that when we opened the fridge we’d be inspired to eat fresh, whole foods?
It seems that no longer are those articles suggesting that you start the year with 12 personal training sessions and use them by the end of February. Well, maybe personal trainers are still suggesting that. .
No, the articles are asking us to be a little more relaxed in our approach and be a little easier on ourselves these days. The new approach gives us the opportunity to let go of perfection and do our best. Our best is enough.
One of the things that yoga taught me was a little bit often. I tend to be someone who wants it all now. I get easily discouraged when I don’t see results as quickly as I think they should be happening. Accepting that I’m human has also been tough for me.
My teacher was a wonderful model of a little bit often. She didn’t just lead a class, she taught. She allowed us time and space to play with poses, to sink down into them and find some ease. She asked us to find the perfect fit for ourselves. She encouraged us to be okay with where we were on that day. She also taught me, and this was big for me, that where you are today has absolutely nothing to do with where you’ll be the next time you practice.
So, I learned, and this took me a long time, to do a little bit often. By going slowly I could understand a pose more deeply. I became better acquainted with how my body really was, instead of just making assumptions based on how my body had always been. A little bit often helped me sink into myself and know myself better.
Those New Year’s articles are shifting to a little bit often. So ask yourself, what’s the thing that I can do today to help me feel the way I want to feel? Want to feel more energetic in 2016? Want to feel more accomplished, more balanced, happier in 2016? What one little thing can you do today to help you feel that way today, even if it’s just for an hour?
So, here’s my suggestion. Whether you want to feel healthier, happier, more positive, more productive or more powerful take this one little step today. Walk. Walk everyday this year. Not just to your car, not just take the stairs instead of the elevator, but set aside time for some mindful movement. I’m not suggesting that you stop doing those things. add the walk.
Ideally, set aside at least ten minutes everyday to take a mindful walk. Walk outside. Because connecting with Mother Nature, even if you live in a busy metropolitan area helps shift our brain chemistry and helps us feel more grounded and stable.. It’s preferable to walk in the middle of the day, cause it’ll wake up your brain and help you have more afternoon energy. Preferably the weather is nice, but you can bundle up or grab an umbrella or both. Do five minutes outside in the winter and 15 when it’s nicer out. While the exercise is important, the focus with this practice is mindfulness. So, leave your phone at your desk. Don’t listen to music. Don’t just run out to pick up your lunch. Take a few minutes to focus on walking.
Walk with no destination in mind. Be present with how you’re feeling in the moment. Are you sore, tired, anxious, hungry? Do ou need a slow ten minutes to just breathe and let the rest of your day go? Or do you need a brisk ten minutes to get the blood flowing and oxygenate your brain? You get to choose, just be right here in the moment. Look at the world around hou, smell the smells around you, hear the sounds around you, feel the breeze, the sun, the rain whatever you feel.
Do this simple thing everyday this year and 2016 will be just a little bit better than 2015. Oh, and what if you can’t make it everyday? That’s okay. It’s not brain surgery, it’s yoga. Pat yourself on the back for what you have done and pick up where you left off. All is not lost if you missed walking last week. It’s not a reason to eat ice cream at your desk. Just walk today and then do it again tomorrow. That’s how you get a little bit often to really add up. Oh, and an added benefit I just thought of? You’ll sleep better!
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