Healthy resolutions – the yoga way!
The focus on ‘healthy resolutions’ and #2023goals has a not-too-subtle undercurrent of restriction and pressure to change that truly grates on my sensitive yogi nerves.
Personally, I am not the least bit inspired, motivated or encouraged by the ‘before and after’ photos or ‘miracle weight-loss’ claims that fill my feed. Moreover, I would go as far as to say that these messages are damaging and demeaning.
In fact, Dr Susan Anders confirms that focussing on future-based resolutions increases cortisol levels which can lead to anxiety and raised stress levels.
So, what’s the alternative?
Stay off the socials until February? Well, that is one option!
For my part, when faced with something that stirs aversion in the pit of my stomach, I turn to my dear old friend curiosity.
So, let’s get curious and discover a healthier approach to New Year’s Resolutions…
Resolve & relax
The word resolution stems from the verb to resolve which has it’s origin in the French resolver or Latin resolvere both meaning to relax, loosen or set free.
Therefore, when we talk about making healthy resolutions, we are actually considering making changes that help us to relax and become a little more free.
Another way to look at this is by assessing what we can let go of that isn’t useful or pleasurable. This could be a physical thing or an action that we maintain out of habit.
In my case, I am letting go of staying up working until late so that I might enjoy better quality sleep and feel refreshed in the mornings.
What could you change to set yourself free?
From fear to love
When we make resolutions based around restriction and obligation we are acting from a place of fear – fear of illness, fear of not having enough money or fear of being alone.
By comparison, setting a healthy resolution that allows us to be more free and relaxed will always come from a place of love.
For example, through experience, I know that my body feels more mobile and free from aches and pains when I devote 15-20 minutes to my physical yoga practice each morning.
For this reason, I choose to get on my mat each day from a place of love and respect for my body.
It would be a very different experience if I forced myself to perform 20 rounds of Sun Salutations every morning out of fear of becoming overweight or inflexible.
The clue here is in the name: intention.
If we don’t fulfil our intentions today, tomorrow and even the next day, it does not matter. We are no more or less.
An intention is simply that – something we intend to do.
In the past, I would chastise myself for missing a fitness or yoga class and feel like I had failed in some way. Even worse, I sometimes took that frustration out on those around me – usually my poor husband!
Did it help me stick to my intention better in the future? Of course not!
Plus, it put me in a foul mood for a good portion of the rest of the day.
So, be kind to yourself if you do not follow your intentions to the letter. Rather than become angry with yourself for not sticking to your plan, how does it feel to go with the flow?
Finally, mindset is everything when it comes to setting resolutions.
Try moving from fear-based resolutions to goals created from a place of love for your mind, body and soul.
For me, reframing resolutions into intentions transforms them from being yet another to-do list into an opportunity to set yourself free and relax into life.
And, remember, every moment is an opportunity for happiness.
Wishing you a 2023 filled with love, peace and happiness.
New year, same you because you are perfect!
If one of your intentions for 2023 is to stress less, check out Happy Yoga Wales workshops and events!
I love seeing our Happy Yoga family grow with such a diverse and beautiful range of people from all over the world. Beginners and veteran yogis are all welcome and catered for in classes, workshops and events.
Saturday Morning Workshops
(10am-11:30am – £15 or free to members)
21 January: How to start a home yoga practice
18 February: Self-love & heart openers
18 March: Sun Salutations for new beginnings
Sunday Night Laughter Yoga Clubs
(6pm-7pm – Just pay-what-you-can!)
I hope to see you there! x