I’ve been both a student and teacher of yoga for over a decade, and while yoga is very much a physical activity, the mental endurance and awareness far outweighs the physical reward. At the end of each year, I often find that my students return to their mats to start self-evaluating goals for the next year, and take stock of their accomplishments and failures. While I do think it is cathartic to use this time as a measuring stick against your goals and growth, I like to remind my students (and myself!) that the mindfulness practice of looking inward can begin whenever or wherever. This idea of consistently being mindful is what led me to begin practicing, teaching and ultimately establishing a network of like-minded women to do the same.
Yoga Goddess Collective, which I started in 2016, is a community and Facebook group for women to learn how to do yoga safely and serves as a resource to those who are training to become a yoga teacher. The community has evolved into more than just a place to learn the practice and has become a safe haven and resource for novices and experts alike to ask questions beyond yoga. In fact, my husband and I live in a rural area, which can sometimes mean that I have to rely on my online community for inspiration as an offline community isn’t as easily accessible to me. However, this Facebook community makes the world a little smaller by connecting me with others who care about yoga from around the world and has helped me conquer my own goals of having a bigger voice and reaching a larger community of people. Through yoga, I’ve learned all the answers are within us, and it’s my goal with this Group to continue to spread this message.
If you’re looking to kickstart or restart your fitness journey I challenge you to examine what has and hasn’t worked for you. From there, write down what you enjoy most about working out and start with that – my tips are motivational ways to help reframe your mindset around exercise and reignite your Yoga practice ahead of the New Year.
- Be Patient: Don’t beat yourself up over certain decisions that you think are bad – be patient with yourself and trust that you’re right where you need to be in your journey. What I see most often is people are focused too much on “being perfect” and trying to fit in to societal norms of the yogi aesthetic. Remind yourself that it doesn’t matter how old you are, or what limitations you have, you can still do yoga – you’re on your own journey
- Check In with Yourself: Take time throughout the day to self-reflect and practice mindfulness. Listening to what your body needs not only helps your mental practice but gives you a deeper awareness of self throughout your physical yoga practice.
- Practice Daily: Laying the foundation of your practice comes with daily movement – keep moving and do a little bit each day to help build and/or reintroduce your body to the general yoga flow.
As a founder of a Facebook fitness group, I often see a resurgence of members both new and old in January. In fact, month-over-month, January sees the largest spikes in membership, with a 45% increase this past January. With that in mind, find your tribe of people who support you in whatever stage of the journey you’re in and check in with yourself – however that may look for you. Join a group, begin meditating or do something that feels good to you!