DAY THREE – WHAT GOOD HABIT DO YOU WANT TO BEGIN THIS MONTH?
Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going. Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most. On average it takes more than 2 months before a new behaviour becomes automatic. Starting a new habit is not an all-or-nothing process so if you mess up every now and then it’s not the end of the world. Give yourself permission to make mistakes but also develop strategies for getting back on track quickly. Forming a new habit is a process not an event. “Oh I’ll just do this and it will be done” NOT likely. Embrace the process and commit to it. You’re going to have to put in the work either way. EMBRACE THE LONG SLOW WALK TO GREATNESS!
This month I want to start doing yoga. The practice of yoga has been proven to boost both physical and mental well-being. I signed up for a class this evening and I think I’m realistic in my expectations for how long it will take to form this new habit. But I’m committed to starting yoga. We shall see what happens!
Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility, and breathing. It offers countless benefits such as alleviating tension, increasing flexibility, strengthening neglected muscles, and improving alignment. Yoga acts as a space for deep relaxation and focus. It’s a unique tool in our chaotic modern world.
There is quite a variety of types of yoga. I will mention 6 popular types. I won’t go into depth just the general idea. I forewarn the reader I’m not an expert.
HATHA YOGA – Hatha is not a specific style of yoga although you will often find Hatha yoga classes advertised. Hatha is the term for all physical yoga practice involving postures (ASANAS). When a session is advertised as Hatha yoga, it is usually orientated towards newcomers and usually focused on learning basic postures (ASANAS) and sequences.
VINYASA YOGA – Vinyasa is the Sanskrit (sacred language of Hinduism) word for flow. Vinyasa refers to an intense style of yoga that is extremely dynamic. Often set to music, Vinyasa classes focus on sustaining a high level of energy through a series of fluid transitions between postures (ASANAS). The fast pace means that these classes are “typically” more suited to those with some fundamental experience and knowledge of yoga poses.
IYENGAR YOGA – The style pays particular attention to the ways in which individual postures (asanas) can be elevated by carefully learning and practicing proper alignment. These classes are usually slower and far more informative about precision, technique, and anatomy. Iyengar incorporates the use of various tools and props, including blocks, straps, chairs, and rope walls, in order to achieve the most effective form. Because instructors are typically more thoroughly trained in issues of alignment and movement, this type of class can be fantastic for those with an injury or movement issue to consider.
HOT YOGA – Performed in studios heated up to 104°F, hot yoga is a favorite of many yoga-lovers! These classes are a more dynamic variation of Bikram Yoga. Bikram classes across the world follow the exact same prescribed series of 26 poses, whereas hot yoga classes may offer altered or entirely unique sequences. Although hot yoga is popular there is a lot more to consider than with typical yoga becuase the heat in the studio can make it easier to overstretch and increases the possibility of dehydration.
YIN YOGA – This is a far slower more meditative practice. In these calming classes, individual postures (asanas) are help for several minutes at a time. These postures (asanas) are commonly focused on lying and sitting positions. These prolonged periods of physical stillness help direct the focus inward. This restorative practice is a beneficial antidote to stress and an ideal counterpart to more intense forms of exercise.
KUNDALINI YOGA – Incorporates intense breathing exercises, meditation, and Hatha yoga (physical yoga practice). Classes in this style commonly involve group exercises such as chanting or singing, in addition to periods of individual meditation. By exercising control over the mind and body Kundalini aims to overcome personal barriers and harness untapped energy.
Completely off topic but one good habit I encourage others to start is meditation. About a year ago I was going through a difficult time in my life. I read “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer and was convinced that meditation might be beneficial. I started slowly, I would sit on the rug, set a timer for 5 minutes and try to clear my mind. I realized at first that the voice in your head does not shut up easily. You hear a car outside your window you think – “I have to bring the car in for an oil change”. You hear your stomach growl and you think – “wow I didn’t eat breakfast…I should eat after this”. There’s incessant chatter in your mind and finding “the quiet” is not easy. After several months I was able to reach a point where I found “quiet” and I was able to meditate a full 20 minutes. “Meditation is not a way of making the mind quiet. It’s a way of entering into the quiet that’s already there – buried under 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day” – Deepak Chopra. It’s amazing the energy that comes to you from this practice. I had always dismissed this practice as something “granola people” do. However life circumstances brought to a point of willingness to try. Meditation helped me and continues to help me cope with everyday stresses, negative thoughts and feelings, anxiety, etc. Give it a try!
Credit for artwork – Frank Millet “A Cozy Corner” and the rest of the images pulled from Google .