Updated: Aug 8
"I've really enjoyed prioritising myself the past few weeks"
"I come to yoga for me"
"My yoga is the only time I have that's for myself"
These are things students tell me all the time - and that's absolutely amazing.
Yoga helps people feel happier, healthier, better able to manage the other areas of their lives. I see it every day on the mat, when we chat after class, I see your body language change over weeks with me, your personality shine and can see the shift in how you feel.
Then there's one mistake that I see all too often. You start to feel better and then immediately deprioritise that time for yourself, getting out of your yoga practice.
And that, my friends, is literally the worst thing you can do. Now, there's loads of reasons for why this happens, and I'm not here to bash cost of living issues, shit happening, life stuff or anything like that - I am here to call you out on looking after yourself properly and dive into WHY you're deciding your wellbeing is an acceptable sacrifice.
If you come to yoga with me, you're getting a full education in ALL of yoga - not just asana. So here we go....
Choosing yoga as part of your self-care routine calls for boundaries and literally putting yourself first so you have the resources you need to support others and manage life's demands.
That is part of the philosophical teachings of yoga - it's tapas (one of the Niyamas, the 2nd of the Eight Limbed path of yoga) that drive and desire to improve yourself and committing fully to things that help you and keep you well.
It's hard and takes commitment, effort and boundaries to enable you to do this.
If you're putting work, seeing clients, and other demands before your own wellbeing - when you've opted for joining a yoga class to support your wellbeing - ask yourself; what effect is that having on you really?
Running multiple businesses, I know a thing or ten about juggling and conscious choices. My entire working life revolves around being pulled multiple directions, continually having and enforcing boundaries with clients, students, my publisher, lots of other people and balancing expectations.
As a recovering people pleaser, it has historically been really hard to say no to things that I've not wanted to do because other people have asked or demanded things of me, or prioritise things like my health and wellbeing.
I see this struggle time and time again with you all who come to my classes too.
It can look like stopping your yoga practice because a client wants to see you, saying yes to shifts and sacrificing your yoga entirely instead of coming to a different class, your partner refusing to come home on time so you can get to class.
A thought that really made me look at how I personally prioritise myself was this:
"The only people who get angry/annoyed with you not having boundaries are the ones that benefit directly from your lack of them".
How are others benefitting from you not looking after yourself?
The first thing we sacrifice is ourselves because it is easy to skip a class, skip the gym, that walk you really need to please others - getting that piece of work done, for a quiet life at home, pleasing your boss. We need to be able to recognise denying ourselves these activities as what they are - an act of harm towards ourselves.
Doing these activities are really helpful for our physical and mental health. When we neglect ourselves and don't allow that space or time we're actively acting against our best interests and yoga too. Ahimsa is one of the Yamas (1st limb of the eight limbed path) and this involves adopting a no harm approach to everything we do. So what is yogic about denying ourselves the things that help us?
After all, we cannot pour from an empty cup. If and when we do try to pour from that empty cup, it only leads one place - we end up in a state of burnout. Nervous system deregulation causing anxiety, depression, physical ailments like back pain, gut issues and so much more.
This is such a frequent pattern I see time and time again. And when this happens, people reappear and invest in their wellbeing - until they start to feel better...then the cycle repeats.
So, how can you break that cycle and keep yourself happier and healthier?
I am here to support you looking after yourself fully and I'd be doing a total disservice as an educator if I didn't call you out when I see it! I'm here to help - join me for a class here.