The beginning of the year often feels like the perfect opportunity for new habits and new hobbies. You are filled with new energy as the new year stretches ahead like a clean slate. All is possible again! And while excitement and new habits are a good thing, what can follow is a thing called too-much. Have you ever looked at a fully booked calendar and sighed in distress? Although it's filled with fun stuff, like yoga and meeting up friends, the calendar is just FULL.
Is your calendar taking control of you?
When you look at your calendar, is it demanding things from you? Sometimes even the best of intentions can turn against us, when not done in moderation. Imagine you have decided to practice yoga three times a week. Your yoga school has the best class on certain weekdays, so you have decided to participate always on those days. During other days you have planned other activities, and the rest of your time is dedicated for hanging out with friends and family.
Sounds balanced, right?
But what happens when your yoga-day rolls around, and instead of having energy, you feel everything but energetic? Your calendar says yoga class, but your body is screaming rest and sleep. You know yoga is good for you and you will feel better afterward, so what's the harm even if you have to push yourself a bit?
Hands up if you have ever blamed yourself in these situations for being lazy (I have my hand up here). I admit, I used to be very harsh on myself. If I did manage to get myself to go to whatever it was my calendar told me to do, I would do it under protest. I was protesting against the younger version of me who had planned all these things without asking me how I felt about it! Alternatively, if I said screw it, I would feel guilty for the rest of the evening for being so 'lazy.'
This is how we get off balance. When the calendar you once filled with the best of intentions feels like a book of demands that never seems to give you a break. When there is no room for listening to your body or doing something you love just because you feel like it, we tend to get off balance and even ill.
Your body is trying to communicate with you all the time. By being tired it may be telling you that it's busy fighting a flu. Maybe your body wants you to rest so it has enough energy to heal you. But this quickly turns into a mission impossible when we pretend to know better, and instead of listening, push forward.
Or maybe your soul wants you to stop and stare out of the window for a while. Or do something creative. Maybe there is a large breakthrough on its way, which we miss because instead of enjoying the beautiful sunset we rush to another appointment that was pre-scheduled.
Keep room for spontaneous fun
We live busy lives. And when we are all busy, it can be a challenge to even meet up with friends. The more people you are trying to get together, the earlier you have to book a date. But when that dates does come around, maybe you feel like doing something else.
Whatever happened to spontaneous fun? Leaving room for whimsical activities, impromptu meetings and blueberry pies with best friends. Surely there could be a little more room given to this?
Next time you are staring at a full calendar, whether at work or at home, observe how much balance there is. If it's hard for you to keep slots open for yourself, next time schedule yourself first. How much time do you need for yourself? Schedule 'doing-nothing' and honor it. Don't let anyone stomp on your precious time slots!
Sometimes savasana is all we need
Yoga teaches us to be tuned in with our body. It shows us how to listen and to accept whatever is. We can do a bit of Yin when we need more quiet, and more powerful flow when we feel active. This is a good lessons to practice off the mat as well. Our body is wise beyond our understanding. If your body needs sleep, there must be a reason for it, and it's fine to give into it without blame. Finding the balance in doing healthy things, such as yoga and bonding with loved ones, and also giving ourselves time to do nothing, can be an art.
But maybe sometimes staring out of the window is the best yoga practice we can do. To let loose, to not try so hard, to accept that we are perfect just the way we are, even without a calendar full of ‘healthy activities’.
Sometimes a simple savasana is all we need.