Happy Monday to you! It is a brand new week and with the start of every week, it is a great time to set an intention for this week, no matter whether it is your yoga practice on the mat, or in any other aspects of your life.
Last week, we were working on finding renewal and reinvigoration both on and off the mat, and in this week’s intention assignment, I invite you to find your edge of your practice and in your life. What is your comfort zone, and how far should you go to continuously push yourself to find new ground, yet at the same time, not to the point of injury / fatigue / undue stress?
The edge of our comfort zones
We are all of different predisposition and therefore, a person’s edge may end up being someone’s comfort zone, and vice versa. It is always an internal work in progress to gain greater awareness of our strengths, weaknesses, and everything else that comes with it. This is not just limited to the asana practice. Acknowledge any hidden or underlying issues, tensions, insecurities in your unconscious mind is a great step to take to start finding the edge in your asana practice, and in your life.
Similarly, it takes great self awareness and understanding of your physical and mental selves to know when is the day to push your edge, and when is the day that you should back off. Here are some tips to think about for this week’s intention:
1. The importance of reflection
Reflection and introspection is something that we have the tendency to throw out of the window whenever we find ourselves caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. We are often caught up with the constant buzz on social media, multiple commitments to take care of, that we often forget to be present and reflect on our growth and progress as individuals.
Therefore, reflecting your journey thus far is a great way to be in tune with understanding your own strengths, weaknesses, as well as knowing what exactly you need to work on. This creates greater self awareness both physically and mentally, hence allowing you to have a better grasp of your comfort zone and where your edge might be.
As a teacher, it is rare to see students bringing this reflection and self awareness to the mat. While it may seem like an intuitive thing to do, we are often caught up in our own ego to truly enjoy the practice – both the asanas that we can nail and the asanas that we struggle with.
2. Approach your goal in a healthy, sustainable and mindful manner
Once you have a better idea of what your strengths, weaknesses, and your comfort zones are, it is then a good time to start setting goals that you might want to achieve. It is important that goals are sustainable in the long run. There is no point setting a goal of doing a 2 hour yoga session 6 days a week when you know you are going to fall off the wagon in 3 weeks’ time or less. It is a lot more sustainable to start small (for example, once or twice a week) and slowly increase once you get more comfortable with the routine.
Similarly, we have the danger of falling into obsessing over achieving our goals that it becomes a be-all-end-all kind of target to achieve. Approaching your goals in a healthful and mindful manner will allow your journey to develop you holistically as a person. Remember to stop and smell the roses in your journey.
3. Track your progress, both the ups and downs
Track your progress on a daily basis, the ups and downs included. Write down in a diary or use an app to help you keep track of how far you have come. Acknowledge that all journeys are never a straight upward trajectory, and that enjoying both the ups and downs of the journey will allow you to understand both your strengths and weaknesses a little better. Remember to give yourself the due credit whenever you improve, but not to beat yourself too much over it whenever you find yourself falling out of the wagon. View your approach and your progress in a more constructive, mindful, and healthy manner.
I hope that this week’s intention assignment will help you to achieve greater mindfulness both on and off the mat. Share with us what you tend to struggle with in your practice, or in other aspects of your life, and how this has helped you approach your struggles or obstacles this week. Have a wonderful week ahead!