The beginning of a new year evokes renewal, resolution, and change. Some of us, however, have a tendency to resist change and have difficulty adopting new habits. This resistance is normal, and stems from our attachment to our comfort zones. However, changes can have many benefits. They cultivate our strength and courage, open us up to new opportunities, and prompt us to push ourselves.
This is why I wanted to start the year off by offering you some practical tools to create a home routine that will promote well-being. You can find all of these tools in my first book: Ma Retraite Yoga à la Maison (My Home Yoga Retreat).
For thousands of years, yoga and meditation have been known to be beneficial to both concentration and well-being in general. As such, it makes sense to incorporate some of their techniques into our daily lives in the interest of achieving optimal health.
Yoga retreats are getting more and more popular, but they can be exorbitantly expensive. My book summarizes what goes on during a full week at a retreat. This way, you can make your way through the lessons, exercises, and practices at your own pace.
During a yoga retreat, one learns much more than just poses. All of the elements that surround the practice and make yoga a way of life are discussed, such as nutrition, discipline, and stress management.
The best part about that is that, these days, it is possible to practice and learn more about yoga from the comfort of home thanks to helpful books and videos. And just because you practice at home doesn’t mean you can’t spoil yourself a little! After a good session of yoga, savor a healthful, delicious recipe of tropical smoothie made with Bio-K+. Several studies suggest that having balanced intestinal flora promotes a healthy mind, so make sure add plenty of probiotics to help foster a positive state of mind in 2017!
Here are 5 tips for getting your yoga practice off to a good start in 2017:
- Diet: Make the most of your yoga retreat by taking it as an opportunity to adjust your diet, focusing on unprocessed organic food, preferably vegetarian foods that will help lighten the body and spirit. Ideally, try to decrease or cut out refined sugar. You will notice the positive benefits of a lighter diet both in your digestive system and in your overall energy level.
- Schedule: As you must make room in your schedule for your new lifestyle, I suggest that you get up thirty minutes to an hour before your usual wake-up time so that you can start the day on your yoga mat. This habit will help get your day off to a good start. Furthermore, try to go to bed before 10 P.M. to maximize the number of hours you sleep.
- Environment: Find a small space in your home to dedicate to well-being, ideally near a window that can provide natural light. This space should also be large enough for a yoga mat to be left there. When you have found a good space, decorate it with a few objects that are meaningful to you, like a statue of Buddha, energy stones, candles, incense, etc.
- Preparation: To avoid discomfort, try not to eat within the 2-3 hours preceding your yoga session. If you practice yoga when you wake up, and you are fit to do so, do your session on an empty stomach. Turn off your electronic devices (cell phone, computer, tablet) and avoid distractions. Have a blanket (natural fiber) for sitting down on the ground and a shawl or a second blanket to cover yourself up during the relaxation and meditation portion of the session. If you suffer from tension in your lower back, hips, or legs, a block or a cushion can be helpful during meditation and seated postures. Lastly, keep a glass of water within reach.
- Non-Judgment: Getting a fresh start and adopting new habits requires time and patience, and you must remember to be good to yourself. If you happen to skip a day or you wake and feel as if you’re not making progress during your session, don’t be hard on yourself. Simply take stock of how you feel and know that you are undergoing a gradual transformation.
Finally, include love in every action you take in 2017. Everything is easier when there is no shortage of love.
Happy New Year!