I’ve been hearing a lot lately about how winter is crushing many peoples' motivation - as soon as it starts to get cold, depression and lack of motivation set in. I totally get that. Changes in sunlight have a heavy effect on most of us, on top of many other factors. I have good news regarding this topic though.
Motivation typically comes after you’ve already started. Rarely does motivation get us moving. Motivation is the willingness to do something but it isn’t the driving force that creates the action. But once you are in action the motivation will typically kick in shortly, if it’s something that is actually important to you.
Motivation is not something we should rely on to get us started. We can’t rely on our will power either. Because most humans have crappy will power! Some people have awesome will power. But most of us struggle in the willpower department. The nice thing about not relying on motivation or willpower to accomplish a task or goal, is that your mission will be less likely to fail if it is approached by-
Making a plan. State clearly when, where, how, and most importantly- why
Being prepared. Clear space in your schedule for it, let your family know, put reminders in your phone, sticky notes, whatever you need to do so this project gets the attention it requires because THIS IS IMPORTANT TO YOU.
Showing up! There’s no reason not to because you planned ahead and this is important to you!
You can apply this approach to anything but of course we all know I’m definitely talking about yoga :)
Here are some tips from a previous blog post on how to get yourself to your mat.
1. Get dressed for yoga- Have your clothes laid out the night before if you intend to practice in the morning. If you practice later in the day, get dressed for it. It will help set the intention.
2. Roll out your mat- If you don’t want to practice just roll out your mat. You might just happen to gravitate towards it after a few minutes. You might as well anyway since you’re dressed for it;)
3. Try to practice at the same time every day- You will get used to the rhythm of the day with your practice being a part of it. Just like brushing your teeth. When it’s missing you’ll notice.
4. Practice in the same place- Have a designated spot to practice in. This will set the feel for your practice. When you enter that spot with your mat you know this is your time to quiet your mind and calibrate your body. Over time you will build an association with that particular spot and practice yoga.
5. Just follow the recipe - Try not to be overwhelmed by thinking too much about what you should practice. If you are one of my students you know your Half Sun Salutations, Sun Salutation A and probably Sun Salutation B and legs up the wall. Maybe you know primary series. Probably you know the 5 Tibetan Rites too. That’s all good stuff! Just start with any of that and see where it takes you. Maybe you only get 10 Half Sun Salutations in. That’s definitely not nothing. Once you do some Half Suns you will more than likely feel like doing something more.
6. Have no expectations and just breathe- Don’t expect anything one way or another. Just be in the moment feeling your body and the sensations that come up, and breath. Whatever happens, happens.
And as a reminder-
1. If you have a fever you should not practice in a way that heats up your body. No vinyasas. You can do more restorative postures like legs up the wall.
2. Ladies, when it’s your time of the month it’s really up to you to decide if you should practice or not. Yoga does relieve a lot of symptoms related to menstruation but some women have very heavy bleeding and severe fatigue. If you can get yourself to your mat just take it easy. Yoga is absolutely safe during this time of month.
3. If you practice 6 days a week, take the 7th day off.
4. If you have a consistent 6 day a week practice you also take off moon days, full moon and new moon.
The practice of yoga is meant to serve you. You shouldn't be a slave to it. Enjoy that time to move around and take those big breaths with no distractions, in solitude, often. If you have an injury, are dealing with chronic pain, mental health issues, or just need to get closer to center, these are perfect times to establish a relationship with a yoga teacher who can help you through your journey so you make the most of your time on your mat.