Comparison is the killer of joy
A harsh statement, but when you think about it, a true one.
We live in a world where comparison is rife. We spend hours and hours a week on social media, maybe we go to the gym, maybe we run, maybe we practice yoga, but within all of these things comparison arises and I’ll explain how it can then go about ruining your mood.
Social media is an easy one. We all know that most social media platforms are used as a highlight reel, we see only the best bits, the fun parts and the stories that get a reaction. But if we’re not carful we start to compare our every day life with someone else's highlights, and that’s a dangerous game to play.
We all have our own story, upbringing, habits and desires. Our souls search for something completely unique. By aiming to find what makes your soul sing and makes you happy will bring you more joy and contentment, than striving for what makes someone else happy.
3 simple fixes for social media comparison:
1. Remove accounts that you find you compare yourself to, or that negatively impact your mood. The accounts may change over time, just because something served you once, doesn't mean it does now.
2. Notice when you are comparing yourself to someone else's life and repeat the affirmation: "I am on my now journey, and it will never look like someone else's"
3. Remember you can control who you see on social media, follow the accounts that are true to you, and you alone. You may find your 'people' and community on social media, the people that help your soul sing. It doesn't have to be a negative place.
Comparison in your yoga practice shows its ugly face in two ways.
Firstly, you may compare yourself to others. This is more prevalent in studio yoga, but I’ve been told about how some of my yogis manage to compare themselves to others online, purely from the progressions or praise I offer (what a nightmare).
But in a studio yoga class, your mat might be surrounded by other yogis, and it’s very easy to let your gaze fall upon the people around you. And then the comparing starts… it might be if you can get into a certain pose or not. It might be how a pose looks, it might be the level of progression you manage within a pose.
There are so many ways to compare, and most of them leave us feeling worse than we did before. So, as you may have heard me say before, keep your head on your own mat. It doesn’t matter what any one else can do, because once again, you are on your own journey.
3 ways to help combat comparison to other people:
The second way that comparison shows up in yoga, also comes up in any fitness class or when you do anything that challenges you. It’s comparing yourself to yourself.
This is far more common than you may have realised. Ever had some time away from your mat? Then come back and realised that pose after pose feels different. What you then do is compare your current self to your past self.
“I used to be able to do this”
“That used to be easy”
“I have no balance/strength/mobility any more”
Well, this is when wonderful things happen in our brains. We love to forget how even when we practiced last time there was struggle. We love to assume that we were better than we were. So when we sit in the here and now and think back, we layer on more negative self talk.
Finally, we also compare ourselves to who we think we should be, yes, read that again.
We get to a point in our fitness or yoga journey, where we add on the pressure and think we ‘should’ be doing so much better than we are.
The odds are you’re moving with more ease, nailing poses you never thought you would, and progressing at a delightful rate. But instead, the pressure comes and you think you’re doing badly. Once again the negative self talk begins.
“I should be better than this”
“I should be able to do this by now”
“I am not getting any better”
This self talk permeates into our beliefs, and we begin to think of them as true, rather than just a comparison to something that doesn’t even exist.
3 ways to help combat comparison to your past and future self:
I hope you start to notice where comparison is showing up in your life, and are able to break down some of those common occurrences that can bring your mood down in an instant.
Celebrate how awesome you are yogis.
Love and light
What about Blue Monday...
Today has been labelled Blue Monday, the day we're most likely to feel down, frustrated and a bit beaten by the new year already. Well, here's how we can tackle it like yogis, and choose to implement another mindset to our Monday.
1. Noticing that inner chatter
That monkey mind of yours will have been picking up on the down in the dump mood of those around you, the wintery weather, and marketing that’s thrown at us from all directions. So the odds are ‘he’ (my monkey mind is always a ‘he’ for some reason) is running rife with a negative commentary. But you know you have the power to override this chatter and take control.
So when you notice that your monkey mind is focused on the rain, the grumpy mood or the desire to be mad at something you really don’t need to be mad at, change the dialog to something more positive.
2. Use your positive affirmations
Our brain loves things on repeat. We repeat something over and over and it becomes a habit or a belief or a very ingrained neural pathway. Our brains also love the easiest path, which are our habits and our beliefs.
Instead of relying on the old beliefs (that we should be down in the dumps about January), let’s create new beliefs with positive affirmations. The more you repeat your new affirmation the more of a truth it becomes.
So choose how you’d like to feel this month:
“January is an exciting time for new beginnings”,
“I’ve got all the time I need to do what I need to do”,
“I’m on a journey to discover my best self.”
You can make up your own, but remember to make it all about you, and embrace the feeling you want to bring into your January.
I recommend writing your affirmation down each morning and each evening. Then repeat it over in your mind, especially when you notice that internal chitter chatter of your negative monkey brain.
3. If you’re struggling to notice the monkey mind, meditate.
Meditation is the key to being able to notice what’s going on in our minds, and not let them take control.
As a yogi, you know that the sitting quietly is as important as the physical practice.
It allows you to differentiate between you and your monkey mind, and without this ability we can find ourselves spiralling.
Try to find 2 minutes each day to sit and notice the breath, if you can do longer, go for it. The simple technique of noticing when the mind has wandered and then coming back to the breath transfers into every day life. We create the ability to use this tool all the time and keep our mind where we want it to be, rather than down a rabbit hole about the fact it’s Blue Monday therefore we MUST be in bad mood.
If you’re lost with meditation, or fancy a little structure, come along to my Online Meditation Workshop on the 2nd February at 7pm. You won’t regret it.
Love and Light
It’s that time of year again…
As a yogi you may think you have this mindset thing down, and cruise through this Festive period with more ease than every before. But it’s worth reminding ourselves of some staple yoga mindset tools that will help us get through this season with more cheer and less stress.
1. Ahimsa FFS!
Ahimsa, meaning non-violence, is our number one priority as a yogi, each and every day and not just at this time of year. But it really can help to lean on Ahimsa even more, as the likelihood of stressful or painful situations is higher.
Are you expecting to spend time with people or a particular person that you don’t like or enjoy spending time with over the next few weeks? This could be the perfect time to consider compassion. Compassion is the exact opposite of violence, so something we should strive to use. It’s worth considering that it can be our violent thoughts about someone else are what causes the anxiety or upset in the first place.
“Ugh she’s just so annoying!”
With that thought itself you’re causing pain (violence) to yourself by focusing on something negative that brings you down, and it’s also a violent thought toward the other person. Reframing your view of this person with layers of compassion changes the outcome entirely.
“Their actions are coming from a place of love, they do not set out to annoy me.”
By considering their actions from a compassionate standpoint the odds of them riling you so much is less, and spending time with them much more pleasurable and reduces the pain in your Christmas period.
Another Ahimsa moment over the festive season could be towards our gift buying habits.
Are you purchasing more than you can afford? If so, this a violence towards yourself.
Are you purchasing gifts that are likely to end up in land fill and damage the environment? This is then violence towards our planet.
Are you shopping at far from ethical stores? Again, a violence toward the environment and other people.
2. Manage your Expectations.
Oh come on it’s Christmas…
Christmas has to be…
We have to, it’s Christmas…
The expectations at this time of year are insanely high, I think everyone feels the pressure to spend more money, to engage in more social events and to eat and drink more. There is even an expectation to FEEL a certain way, and it can be too much!
Managing your own expectations at this time of year can remove so much pain from your Christmas.
If I don’t expect a certain gift, I won’t be disappointed.
If I don’t expect to eat at a certain time, I can eat chocolate all morning and feast whenever dinner is ready.
If I don’t expect to spend time with certain people, then I won’t be disappointed by those I do see.
If I don’t expect people to behave, feel and interact in a certain way, then I can’t be upset by the behaviours of those around me.
Expectations are like trying to control the future, you are setting yourself up to fail. Remove the expectations and you are then more present and more available to enjoy the moments you’re in, for what they are and not what you think they should be.
3. Just say no!
It’s important to strike a balance between having down time and Christmas socials, so saying no can be essential to avoid burnout at this time of year. The social calendar is full, the bank balance has been hit hard and the pressure to have the perfect Christmas is always at the forefront of our minds.
So saying no can become our best form of self care.
Saying no to just one more Christmas party with people you don’t really want to spend time with, isn’t going to hurt.
Saying no to staying out for “just one more”, allows you to get to bed earlier and nourish your overtired body.
Saying no to “just one more” mince pie or glass of bubbles will allow you to feel better in your body and mind.
Saying no to “just one more” gift for just one more person will remind you that your value is not placed in how many gifts you give or receive.
Equally, fellow introverts, I see you!
Sometimes it’s good to say yes. Spending time with those we love and care about is an important part of the festive period and a wonderful way to make memories and fill your cup. So try not to lean on the ‘self care/burn out’ excuse too often. You wont regret it.
I hope you have a yoga mindset Christmas
Love and Ahimsa FFS
It took me some time to get to grips with the idea that how much I enjoy my day is completely up to me. The barriers that we instinctively put up when faced with this concept are plentiful, especially when our day to day life can feel monotonous, negative or difficult.
Spending 40 hours a week in a job you hate takes some serious toll, but it doesn't have to be the hell you may have become accustomed to.
While working on this mindset shift myself there were 3 very distinct things that helped me have a good day every day.
1. Start with gratitude
This is a yoga staple and I'm sure you've dabbled before, if not created a regular habit. Gratitudes help us to slowly shift our mindset from one that naturally focuses on the negative to one that finds the positive from a situation or if there is no evident positive, we are able to learn or adapt instead.
The world is full of pain and struggle, and it's human nature to notice and focus on the potential risks and pain that could impact our owns lives. We've developed this skill to help us survive, but long gone are the days of remembering where the sabre toothed tigers live.
There are dangers every where yes, but we don't have to fill our minds with worrying about the 'what if's'.
Practicing daily gratitudes help keep our mind on the good things in life, and these can be small and go completely unnoticed if we continue to be consumed by the negative.
When you start to look for things you're grateful for every day you start to notice them more and more. They may crop up when you least expect it. You're in a meeting, it's stressing you out, but the smell of coffee wafts into the room. How delicious, how comforting, how easy to dismiss unless we choose to take a single moment to notice it and all the warm feelings that come up with a favourite smell.
Start small, just note down 3 gratitudes each day, before bed is a great time as it helps you go to sleep on a positive note. Remember, you can't be sad when thinking about something you're grateful for.
2. Notice your focus
This one can take a little longer to get your head around, but it's definitely something everyone can do. What we focus on grows, what we ignore dies away. So where we focus our attention becomes bigger and bigger and sometimes this can become all consuming.
Let's go back to that example of the job you hate.
If you spend 40 hours a week in a job you don't like, and every minute of every hour you're there you're thinking how much you hate it, how much you resent the boss, the task in hand or the fact you have to be there, that's a lot of negative focus and it's only going to block any sense of enjoyment.
What if you then head home in the evenings and complain to your friends and family about how much you hate your job.
Then at weekends and every social event (that has the potential to be fun) you 'ruin' it by discussing your deep dislike of your day job.
That's dissatisfaction 24/7, 365. No wonder you're not happy.
What if you stop giving the thing you hate any brain space outside of the hours you're there? Suddenly 2 full days of the week are free from that miserable focus.
What if when you're at work you start to notice your resentment, then lean on those gratitudes and start to realise the small things throughout your day that have the potential to be good instead; a lunch break, a colleague bringing you a hot drink, a text message from a loved one. Whatever it might be, there will be good moments in your day, even if it's just being paid to poo (who doesn't love that).
3. Just let it go
We often let 10 'bad' seconds ruin an entire day.
You may well have heard me say "don't let it ruin you day", and this can take effort, and to do this effectively it takes mindfulness, the mindfulness to notice when you're letting your mind focus on just one thing, and not letting it go.
Similarly to noticing how we can focus on something that we deem negative, we can also pour energy into some tiny mishap, which in the grand scheme of things won't matter in just a few days time.
A simple example of this is someone lets you down, you were meant to meet at a particular time but they don't show up. You've taken time out of your day to get ready, travel and be at the arranged location, but they have forgotten, double booked or over slept, what ever it might be. It wasn't their intention but it's happened.
It would be very easy to dwell on this, perhaps the initial reaction is to be angry at the waste of time and the fact they don't prioritise you and your needs. After a while your anger may turn to resentment, outrage or even full on bitch mode. You call and text all your friends to complain about them, you go home and moan about it to your loved one. You think about nothing else for hours on end, plotting revenge, rude messages to send them and how you'll never make time for them again.
What if you just let it go?
What if you checked said person was healthy and happy and then stopped focusing on it?
Yes it's an inconvenience but does it need to impact YOU negatively any more? By choosing (and it is a choice) to fuel the mishap by talking and thinking about it you only ruin your own day. Your negativity will bring you down, you might even impact other peoples lives with your negativity too, and who wants to be that guy?
Noticing what you are fuelling helps to make your day better or worse. Choose to fuel the minor mishaps, the things that haven't gone to plan and the things you deem negative, you're going to ruin your day. Choose to let them go and put your energy into something that actually brings you joy, or the positives that come out of a change of plan, you are only going to nourish the joy and the wonderful things in your life.
Here's to having a good day, every day.
Love and light
We kick off our yoga classes pretty early most mornings off the week, with the option to get your practice in before the day really starts. But the season change and the darker mornings can make it harder to get out of bed and onto your mat.
To be honest, I like the darker mornings. There is a certain sense of peace when it feels like the rest of the world is sleeping. There is a low level excitement, reminiscent of heading to the airport. You get the feeling of accomplishment; you've got up and will get what need done before anything else can get in the way.
When it's daylight at 5am, this magic doesn't hit the spot in quite the same way. But this could just be me.
To help you get back to your early starts and hopefully make them a little easier, here are my top 5 tips for getting out of bed in the morning:
1. Use a light to help you wake up.
The body uses sunlight to start the process of waking up, in the winter this natural process is hard to come by unless you're staying in bed until 8-9am. But there are some very good lights available that create that morning sunshine feel all year around.
There are many of these lights on the market now, I use a Lumie light, but other brands are available and vary in price.
How it works: So when you set your alarm (on the light) for 5am, it slowly starts to light up about 20 minutes before. It's so dim to begin with it's unlikely to wake you but by the time it gets to 5am you wake up with ease, to a bedroom full of a lovely soft light.
What the light also helps you to avoid is the feeling you're digging yourself out of a deep sleep when the alarm goes off, which is a horrible feeling, and unlikely to be followed by a productive morning.
2. Try to get up at the same time every day.
This is a tough one for some, but this technique really does work. It was first introduced to me in the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, and then I was pleasantly surprised to find that Ayurveda recommends the same thing.
Getting to bed at a similar time helps too, this way you can make sure you're hitting your 7.5-9 hours sleep a night. But when it comes to getting out of bed with more ease, it's the waking up time that has the biggest impact.
Your body thrives off routine, so when you start consistently waking up at the same time each day you'll find it easier and easier no matter how dark it is outside. Obviously if you go to bed at midnight and expect to wake up at 5am each day this isn't going to work, you will suffer. But if you can get to bed by 9-9:30pm, that 5am alarm will get easier and easier.
If you're wanting to make 6:30am yoga, you might even be able to delay that alarm until 6am.
Try it and see. You won't regret it.
3. Establish a night time routine.
Sometimes we get to bed early enough to set us up for a great morning, but sometimes there are those nights where we get into bed and the brain doesn't switch off and sleep alludes us for hours.
Once again, the body and mind thrives on routine, and having a bed time routine helps prepare us for good sleep and we're much more likely to fall asleep quickly.
Examples of a bedtime wind down could be:
- A bath or shower (some alone time)
- Write a to do list for the following day (get the stress out of your brain and onto paper)
- Get your morning outfit, coffee, breakfast all prepped. (Clothes waiting, coffee machine primed, breakfast in the fridge ready to go) This limits barriers. So if you want to get to Yoga in the morning, have your mat out ready.
- Switch off screens (you know this) at least 30 minutes, if you can 90 minutes, before bed. Read a book perhaps if you need some kind of entertainment, but keep the screens off and out of the bedroom.
- Write or think of 3-5 things you're grateful for so you fall asleep with happy thoughts in your head
- A 5-10 minute meditation or sleep story to fall to sleep to (many available online)
- Open the window (having a cooler bedroom is conducive to good sleep)
There are many other routines and lovely things to do to finish your day, so play around with what feels wholesome to you.
4. Try Vitamin D3
A lot of people struggle with the shorter hours of daylight, and it can lead to SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can cause a serious drop in mood and energy levels. If you work inside all day 5 days a week, get to work and leave work in the dark then it can be really tricky to get any daylight, or even sunlight at all. Therefore the amount of Vitamin D we are able to absorb really drops and with that your mood and energy levels.
There are a couple of ways to help combat this, firstly, try to make it a priority to get outside for at least 10 minutes on a sunny and 15-20 minutes on a cloudy day at some time in the course of your morning. And add to this by getting outside on your lunch break. It really is important to get outside everyday.
But you can help supplement this by taking Vitamin D3. It's available online, in most health food stores and pharmacy's. By taking Vitamin D3 each day you help keep your levels topped up through the winter months to combat the shorter days, lower moods and energy levels.
5. Make you Yoga Practice part of your morning routine.
By having your mat and your yoga gear out ready the night before, the odds of you getting your practice in first thing is more likely.
Once you create that pattern of making the same 2 or 3 classes each week you won't even think about it. Getting onto your mat and ensuring your daily practice will be guaranteed.
By leaving our yoga practice until later in the day we're more likely to talk ourselves out of it, to find an excuse on the get it done or make the time.
Putting aside 40 minutes in the morning for yourself will help set you up for the day in both body and mind. If you do nothing else all day, you know you've taken care of number one, and once you've done that you know you have the capability to look after any other challenge the comes your way.
Love and light
Do you use yoga as your main form of exercise?
For years now, Alex Howarth Yoga has encouraged not only stretching but strength and so much more into your yoga practice, and here’s why.
When I first started teaching yoga I was all about the functionality of the stretches, we stretched to get more range of movement, we wanted more range of movement so we were able to move well and lift more, it was as simple as that. But then as my own education and yoga experience continued I realised how much more there is to it, and how the huge range of movements we practice on the mat can have a huge knock on effect to the other movement and sports we take part in off the mat.
You may know from practicing yoga with me that we work on strengthening as much as we do stretching and lengthening the muscles, I encourage the use of tiny movements to perfect a pose and ensure you’re helping your body get the most from the pose.
Stability, balance, flexibility, strength, coordination and even, sometimes, cardio are bought together to help you achieve the best all round yoga practice you can have.
And I can’t tell you how much I wish it was enough…
Many yoga teachers have been convinced that their yoga sequence is everything anyone needs for all round health and wellbeing… But let’s be honest, we know that can’t be right, and I am not about to tell you that it is. And as much as I love to see you on your mat as much as possible, I urge you to apply more than just yoga to your weekly exercise regime.
Last year I introduced many of you to the concepts of Ayurveda, an ancient science that addresses everything from diet, sleep, meditation, breath work and movement, and it compliments a yoga practice in many ways.
I’ll be honest, I was shocked to discover how many of my regular yogis, those of you that practice yoga with me 2+ times per week, either don’t do any other for of exercise or just add cardio to your weekly movement plan, and the biggest shock to me was the fear some of you had of lifting something heavy.
If we use the 3 categories of exercise found in Ayurveda as a guide, it will help keep things clear.
Ayurveda recommends we combine Cardio (running, walking, skipping, boxing, swimming etc), Hardening (weight training, lifting, pulling, pushing load etc) and Softening (yoga, tia chi, pilates, stretching etc) exercises into our weekly movement plan.
A lot of you have the Softening in place with your yoga practice, many of you have the Cardio element in place, but there were many of you that hadn’t or didn’t want to lift in any way.
We gain some strength from yoga, we absolutely do! But resistance training where we use a weight that isn’t your own bodyweight stimulates muscle growth in a different way, and because we are able to apply larger loads we can create bigger adaptions to the body.
Lifting weights will help you maintain muscle and bone density that slowly diminish with age, it will reduce the likelihood of a break should you fall. It will help you stand taller. You will feel more confident. And there is no doubt you will find not only your yoga practice easier, but your chosen cardio too. The stronger your legs the stronger your push into the floor as you run. The stronger your shoulders the heavier your punch or the more effective your golf swing. The stronger your core the better your balance and ability to hold that plank for just 10 more seconds.
But let’s address a common fear… Getting ‘bulky’. The odds of you lifting a few weights a couple of times a week then suddenly becoming ripped, with bulging biceps is slim to none. That kind of looks takes serious work and dedication. When I’m talking about lifting weights, our goal is to support muscle growth, bone strength and joint health and stability. So don’t worry, you’re not going to need to change your wardrobe to allow space of massive shoulders, but you will probably feel a bit ‘tighter’ in a good way, you may find a little more shape and definition in all the right places.
So we’ve established why lifting weights is important, but getting started can be terrifying… often lifting weights means joining a gym, or buying equipment that you don’t know how to use, so I want to tell you about an opportunity that could make your introduction too, or recommencement of, lifting very simple.
Every Saturday morning at 10am I now teach a Power class at Hustle, Norwich. Hustle is a boxing gym at it’s roots, but Hustle has grown to offer a huge amount of variety in their classes, including Power classes, so everyone can get their weight training in too (It’s not just me that knows it’s important).
These classes are 60 minutes, and my Saturday class focuses specifically on lifting, but on lifting and moving WELL. With 9 years of yoga under my belt and 5 years of coaching CrossFit, it’s almost impossible for me to allow you to lift badly.
We break down the movements we are working on each session, we start light and practice until the movement is right for you. Once you’ve got it right we apply load, and this could be something small to start with, such as a 6kg slam ball or a 5kg dumbbell, but over the weeks as you learn the foundations you will find you’re able to apply more weight, move with more confidence and be able to walk into a class knowing what your body is capable of.
In each and every class with me you will get coached, suggestions and adjustments will be made that are just for you. You will come away from every class having learnt at least one thing, if not about the movement, it’ll be about yourself. You will be able to take what you learn in these classes into all areas of your fitness, such as other classes at Hustle, out on your runs or onto your yoga mat.
Hustle owner, Bobby, is offering a free class to anyone new to Hustle, all you need to do is head to the website.
Hustle offer a great range of class passes, so you don’t need to sign up for a monthly membership to come along to the Power class with me on a Saturday, nor do you have to turn up every week (even though I recommend it).
If you have any questions about strength training, joining me for a class at Hustle, or incorporating more cardio into your life I’m always here to help.
Love and light
Warriors and Worriers was an interesting month to embark upon. It was the first time I'd used a mindset as a focus point across the month, and I didn't want it to get lost with the excitement of all the Warrior poses, so I chose to break worrying down week by week, much like we break down the physical poses across the month long focus.
We start with the basics and the groundwork and we build from there, and this is exactly what we have done with Worry.
In week one we considered the origin of worrying. Why do we as humans worry so much?
The basic principle is that we evolved to predict danger as a way to help us survive. Seems simple enough, "can a tiger easily walk into my cave?" "If I light a fire there is it going to burn everything in sight? If I behave this way is my tribe going to abandon/kill me?
And I'm sure there were many other, seriously scary and worrying things to consider in the time of this human development.
No however, our worries are very different, we don't need to worry about tigers, finding food or being killed by our own tribes quite so much. We have basic living down, we, for the most part, are able to put food on our tables, sleep in a warm comfortable bed, we have people in our lives we trust and care for and we usually have a wifi connection. Yet worry is at an all time high, with many of us struggling with anxiety every single day.
If we accept, based on the reason worrying evolved, that worry is a form of 'looking forward' then we can embrace the idea that being present may be a calmer place to be.
Which was our next step in our 'Worriers' journey. We practice our mindfulness at the end of almost every physical practice and usually at the beginning too. We take a few breaths just to bring our mind to our mat, to our body and to our breath. By doing so we bring our attention to the present moment, our mind is briefly held in a place of calm, and escapes the unending chitter chatter of the mind that is often on a repeat, relentlessly in our own heads.
So to escape the worry, we know there is power in being present. By practicing our mindfulness we develop the ability to notice when our mind has run away with us, not just on the mat, but in day to day life.
In week 2 we started to discuss looking forward and how worry sits in the future, in the what if's the fake scenarios, the conversations, events and catastrophes that haven't happened yet. And I should add, usually don't happen.
When was the last time you worried incessantly about something, then when the time came it was exactly as you imagined it? Hardly ever! We assume the worst from every situation, and by doing so ruin our own day.
Imagine a day clear of worry. Imagine a mind that didn't fixate on the negative things that might happen. It would be a wonderful thing.
In week 3 we then considered worrying about things we can't control.
This is a common one in the world of worrying, and we can often get completely absorbed in thinking about things that we have no control over. A very common one is other people's behaviour. We cannot, ever, control another person's behaviour. Therefore worrying about how someone might behave, respond, act, what time they might show up, what they might say is utterly pointless. By bringing the focus (not worry) back onto yourself you can be sure to listen fully, respond with kindness and compassion and truth. This way you will be the best version of you, rather than concerning yourself with what the other person might do.
An example, I discussed just this weekend, was worrying about what time my partner might come home form a night out.
Well... what does it matter? He's out with his friends. The best thing I can do is live my own life, do what I want to do and when I want to do it with no consideration for what he might be up to or when he might be home... I cannot, and will never be able to control that.
This means I had a great evening! Went to bed and slept like a log. Whereas the flip side would worrying about where he was, what he's up to, and getting cross with every hour that passes and he's still not home. I not only ruin my own night, but the odds our I'd ruin both our mornings when I wake up cross and take my pointless worrying out on him.
Week 4, we finish the month by considering looking back.
Looking back is a weird kind of worry, often we get wrapped up in replaying events and reliving uncomfortable emotions. All this does is makes us worry in the present moment, and for what?
We cannot change what has happened, we cannot change how we, or anyone else behaved, therefore dwelling on it, worrying about it and how the event makes us appear within society is utterly pointless.
Often when we reply things in our head it is because we are concerned about how others view us; "did I sound stupid?" "Do they hate me now?" "Should I have said that?" " What if they don't get back to me?". It's the ego running away with what other people might think. And as I said above, it is impossible to control the behaviours of others.
The only time I would say it is good to look back at a scenario that perhaps didn't play out the way you'd hoped or planned, is to learn from it. What could you perhaps do going forward to make something more comfortable for you. You cannot control the behaviours of others, therefore listen fully, act with kindness and compassion and speak your truths, that way you are unlikely to come away from something filled with worry and dread.
Love and light
Yin at The Painted Barn is changing, and here's what's to come.
You may have heard that from the end of October the structure of Yin Yoga classes at The Painted Barn is changing.
You will be able to guarantee your space for 8 weeks in a row and really feel the benefits of your weekly practice. The 8 weeks will be linked with an overall focus and similar postures will come up throughout each class.
For this Autumn term we will be looking to do warming postures, allowing us to keep warm as the weather gets colder. As we hunch forward against the cold, we round our backs and pull our shoulders forward, this shortens the muscles across the chest and shoulders and causes them to tighten, and this can cause a lot of tension, aches and pains across the back of your body too. Therefore the postures we will focus on most will open the chest, stretch across the top of the back and warm the body.
With the season change and the nights getting darker earlier we can also experience a change in our mood. This could be for any number of reasons, but by paying attention to our thoughts, we put ourselves into the position to change and improve our mindset as winter comes in. By practicing a slightly different way to achieve this positive mindset each week, we can choose to feel positive as the Autumn rolls into winter and enjoy the last few months of this year without letting the shorter days and cold weather get to us.
We have limited spaces available in the class, this is for a couple of reasons. One, it gives us more space in the studio, so you can spread out with your props and blanket and not worry about intruding on another's space. And two, it allows for teaching time in every class. With a studio full to bursting I wouldn't be able to offer you one on one teaching every class. I always hope you come away feeling you got the best practice for your body, therefore I want to be able to help you get into the right postures, show you how to prop best and where to put what prop and when. Therefore we have just 10 spaces available to book for this Autumn term.
The first class begins on Friday 1st November and runs through until December 20th. There will then be a catch up class available on Jan 3rd should you miss any of the 8 sessions due to holiday or sickness.
Get booked in today to ensure you get the early bird price on this relaxing 8 week course. Early bird offer ends soon.
All new classes are coming soonYou may have heard that the studio space at GAIN Fitness Norwich, is undergoing a bit of a change. The studio will be hosting different classes and a space for one-off events or more regular activities.
What's on already:
If you'd like to offer classes at The Studio at GAIN we have times available throughout the week for both one off sessions or more regular bookings. Hire prices vary accordingly. Get in touch to find out more.
The Happiness Workshop is now on sale!
Thursday 26th September 6-8pm at The Studio @ GAIN Fitness. Alex Howarth Yoga is excited to host Gavin Drake, the director of Mindspan, for a 2 hour workshop devoted to happiness.
We will learn techniques and life hacks to help you become happier more often. We all have ups and downs in life, but the skills we learn in this workshop will help us bounce back faster, help us sit on a happier level more consistently and give you the confidence to take control of your happiness rather than rely on others to make it for you.
This workshop is not suitable for those who enjoy being miserable day in day out. But if you're ready to make a change and consider new ideas and new ways of thinking, then this is for you.
The workshop will include:
Alex Howarth, owner of GAIN Mobility, Fitness, Astanga, Hatha and Vinyasa teacher. Lover of meditation and writing. Even if I can't spell.