Lastest on the Yoga Health Coaching Blog: Hack Your Home Life to Uplevel Your Work Life

My latest on the Yoga Health Coaching Blog:

“Surprisingly, my studies in yoga and Ayurveda have revealed a new time management secret: Hacking my home life is my best tool for freeing time and focus for my work life.  “Hacking” is a way to describe looking for new ways of doing things to increase efficiency.  At home, this could mean cleaning in a different way or shopping for groceries online.  For me it means getting smart about my self care.”

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About the Author

Marcia Wilson is an Occupational Therapist, yoga studio owner, and Health Coach in Kamloops, BC. A life-long learner, she’s navigated career changes, motherhood, health issues and marital breakdown with increasingly refined skills gleaned from the world of yoga and ayurveda. Her current passion? Supporting others on their journey of evolution by sharing the simple self care practices that have shifted her into a consistent space of clear energy and deep connection.

Find more of her writing on the Yoga Health Coaching Blog.

Why I Resist What I Need: Learning to Love Routine

Routine. “A sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.”*  Or as I would have defined it in the past:  “A lack of freedom that follows commitment.”

Is this you? Do you love change and the ability to go with the flow? Is your desire to explore and seek out novelty stronger than your ability to commit to one thing? What’s your relationship with routine?

Me- I’ve always resisted routine. With the exception of gathering with friends and family for fun and sharing, I am hard pressed to commit.  In other words, unless someone else is part of the process, I am not likely to sign up for a series of classes, show up every Monday at the gym, or commit to a monthly book club.  In the name of freedom, I have resisted routine.

Movement and Change

In Ayurveda the element of air reflects movement, change, creativity and diversity. Although I have a degree of fiery nature (see my post Dancing with Fire), I am more than anything dominated by the elements of air and space, the dosha known as Vata. Those of us who are more air element than earth element naturally gravitate to a lack of routine- constant change, movement and acting on impulse is how we naturally tend to create our lives.

When we study Ayurveda we learn that “like increases like”. People who are driven and fiery like hot yoga and challenges. People who are earthy and calm like steadiness and stillness. And people who are creative and chatty like change and movement. We have natural tendencies to be a certain way and we step more often than not in that direction.

Disease (and Dis-Ease) Ayurveda-Style

At the same time, we learn that in Ayurveda the concept of disease is rooted in careless choices and living out of rhythm.  When we ignore our natural tendencies to do too much of what already dominates our way of being, we create imbalance. And too much of one thing day-in and day-out shifts us into dis-ease.

My studies in health coaching have taught me that balance is created by moving in directions that we often resist. In the world of Ayurveda this means we need to do things that counteract our natural instinct to become MORE airy, more fiery, more earthy. In my case,  health and well-being is most likely to come through steady, consistent, slow, and trustworthy practices. For people like me who have an excess of air energy and are Vata dominant, routine is our best bet.

The Challenge of Creating Routine

Creating routine can be tricky. Changing behavior – initiating new ways of doing things – can be hard to implement and even harder to sustain.

Luckily for me, my studies with my teacher Cate Stillman have been infused with learning about healthy self care routines AND habit changing tools that help me implement and sustain these rhythms.  Day-by-day I have shifted towards health-supporting habits that are in rhythm with the natural world around me. They have become a base of support for my work, my relationships and my home life. These daily routine habits- called Dinacharya in Ayurveda- have shifted me into an early-rising, routine-loving, clear-thinking fan.

When Routine Falls Away

But what happens when life takes a turn- when we lose the simplicity of being at home or having control over our environment and the people we interact with each day?

Contrast is one of my greatest teachers. Usually contrast teaches me when something is NOT working-  the ice cream I had at the music festival has aggravated my lungs, or that late night work-binge is the root of my foggy thinking. But I recently learned that contrast is also a way for me to see when I have evolved and haven’t recognized that I deserve some kudos.

Case in point: five days of intense family work with my ex and my children resulted in the successful transition of my son to university in another city and my daughter to Rotary Youth Exchange in another country. An instant double empty nest. It was five days of packing, travel, and eating on the run with only a hint of the routine and rhythm that usually structures my day.  Five days of depletion and I was exhausted.

But when I returned home, rather than chastising myself for falling away from my habits, I had a big recognition:  my routine was right there, waiting for me. Arriving home at dinner time I prepared my meal, resisted the urge to catch up on email, and instead went to bed early. I stepped right back into my “early to bed, early to rise” routine.  And I realized that in spite of my Vata nature I HAD transitioned into someone who is committed and can live in routine. I had maneuvered my way around my resistance. I had become someone who not only had a routine- I was craving it.

When Resistance Falls Away

Resistance is ubiquitous.  Steven Pressfield’s book The War of Art is dedicated to “resistance” as it affects creative endeavors. In acknowledgement of the power of the force, Pressfield even capitalizes the word Resistance to emphasize its power.

In the realm self care we can view resistance through many lenses- self love, boundaries, goal setting and even martyrdom.  We can analyze and assess and criticize.

Or we can start small and make one small change.  And then another. And when we see that resistance has fallen away, that a day-by-day 1% at a time improvement has allowed resistance to fall away- there is but one thing to do:  a big congratulatory high five.  Because freedom really does come from commitment.

My Top 3 Resistance Busters:

1. Find a friend! I now have 4 accountability partners who support me in my evolution in four different areas: learning, financial health, writing, and personal health.  Each relationship has its own structure- when we meet, how we converse, and how we hold each other accountable. Each one requires a degree of commitment. And each one is infinitely valuable.

2. Start small! David Allen of “Getting Things Done” teaches us how to start with the smallest “next action”.  If we can’t get moving on a goal, the action we are resisting may be too big. Start small- very, very small- so that it is nearly impossible to resist the next step.  Losing 10 pounds by becoming a whole-foods eating vegetarian- daunting. Adding one serving of vegetables into your daily intake- not so much so. In Yoga Health Coaching we call this approach Kaizen- and it works.


3. Stop debating! Wondering if you should do that workout? Having a long conversation with yourself about the pros and cons of your morning gym commitment?  If you are debating yourself, close off the chatter and just do it.  It is that simple. Recognize the impulse to move ahead, name the negative chatter as resistance, and DO IT ANYWAYS.

As Pressfield says: “Most of us have two lives.  The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”  (the War of Art).   For those of us who need routine, the path around resistance is almost indiscernible.  But if we take tiny steps and navigate around the chatter, we may just find ourselves in a surprising state of evolution and ease.

 

About the Author

Marcia Wilson is an Occupational Therapist, yoga studio owner, and Health Coach in Kamloops, BC. A life-long learner, she’s navigated career changes, motherhood, health issues and marital breakdown with increasingly refined skills gleaned from the world of yoga and ayurveda. Her current passion? Supporting others on their journey of evolution by sharing the simple self care practices that have shifted her into a consistent space of clear energy and deep connection.

Find more of her writing on the Yoga Health Coaching Blog.

 

How to Get Things Done without Burning Yourself Out- Published on the Yoga Health Coaching Blog

My learnings in yoga and Ayurveda have been a powerful tool for developing self awareness and learning new ways to navigate my life.

My first post on the Yoga Health Coaching Blog is a favourite topic of mine- learning how the metaphor of fire relates to the way some of us push ourselves so hard, and why burnout is a natural result of this drive.

To Take a Read Click Here

check out the Yoga Health Coaching Blog where you will find offerings on self care and health topics from a yoga and Ayurveda perspective

A Contemplation on Finding Quiet

 

This summer has been a ‘quiet’ time for me. Not uneventful- anything but uneventful, actually. But it has been a continual reminder of something that is calling me deeply- doing less, being more, and allowing space. I’m writing this on a beautiful morning while on Vacation on Hornby Island. The house is quiet before family begins to arise. I sit on a deck surrounded by forest. And I am listening.

The chirp of bird and flutter of wing. The crunch of dry branch and rustling of leaves of the salal shrubs. The wind moving through the fir and cedar boughs. Insects chatting. The forest is talking to me. And I am happy to sit and be.

The version of me that sits here quietly is the quiet, shy 5 year old who was deeply challenged by preschool. Who loved bobbing endlessly in the turquoise water in the backyard pool. Who’s happier going to bed early than staying up late at an energy filled party. I know her well- she’s been with me forever. And she loves being quiet and she loves being alone.

On Quiet and Learning to Nourish Rather Than Deplete

Have you read the book “Quiet?” It’s a story of introverts. A tale of a modern culture that prizes extroversion even as our greatest inventors hail from the world of the solitary. It carves out space and value for those of us who recharge in solitude. Who do our work alone even as we sit in coffee shops amongst many. “Quiet” shows us why we may experience large gatherings as challenging but excel one to one. It’s my summer reading and it has been timely.

I’m learning that as I age- and listen to my instincts- the quiet child in me is more present than ever. There is a constant push-pull between the version of me that owns a business, teaches and is “in” the world, and the “quiet” version who needs respite from the world.  What I now know to be true is that I need to listen, balance my energy and be vigilant with self care. If I don’t my body and my mood respond with a resounding ‘no!’  Headaches, strange 24 hour flus, injuries. This is now the quiet me has been trying to find a voice. And finally I can hear her.

Have you ever thought about what nourishes you? What feeds you from the inside out? The kinds of experiences that always leave you feeling more like you?

And depleting experiences- what drains and strains you? Leaves you craving a shift. What drives you to step away, create a change?

Learning to be reflective- to listen to the voice inside- is not one of the prized virtues in an extroverted world. But for me it has become critical – my lifeline.  Knowing clearly what “feeds” me has always been one of my natural abilities.  But learning to see what depletes me- this is a new skill.

A Shift in Practice

Flash back to my time this summer in San Francisco, where I was studying restorative yoga with Judith Hanson Laster, the grandmama of this nourishing practice.  The training was 5 days of conversation about the value of going into a space of quiet as a practice. Conversation about stress, our relationship with time, and the ability to consciously support the nourishment of our nervous system.  Exploration of how we respond to restorative practice. Affirmation of the value of being on the yoga mat not to push boundaries and feed the ego with big poses, but to support and heal and nurture. It turns out restorative yoga- a practice of allowing, receiving, and being held and nurtured in my practice- is what I’m needing now.

Self Care Rituals

Flash forward to me here and now, on Hornby Island. My summer has been a space of constant change, movement and learning. And at the same time one of deepening. I am learning to feel deeply the needs of my body and my mind and my heart. And I step closer to my self care rituals- the practices that continue to evolve as I experiment and reflect, feel and receive. I hold tighter to sleep. I use the mat to both recreate strength and find space and fluidity where I’m shortened and tension is held. I fill my lungs with forest fresh air from this island. I breathe and feed myself with food, water, prana filled air, and meaningful exchanges. And slowly I am adding in the idea of saying no.

Finding Space, Creating Quiet

One of the hallmarks of the introvert is time alone.  This is one of my deep needs- something that has always been critical for me.  I look back now to the 5 years when I raced triathlons and see that what I was creating was time alone. Yoga too is that.  Even in a class, in the midst of a crowd, I have the ability to use the mat as a boundary and the time in class as a time to be quiet, inward looking and alone.

For me the current dance plays into my love of ideas, of hearing about people’s lives, of helping. How do I find space as I simultaneously explore my creativity and my love of bringing community together for learning and exchange?

So today I look at what is essential. What I can stop doing, what I can delegate. What I can say no to. My biggest self care exploration is just about to start- fully stepping into the role of a discerning yogi who knows what to say yes to, what to say no to, and how to live in the deeply vibrant and pulsating energies of the day both in community and alone.

About the Author

Marcia Wilson is an Occupational Therapist, yoga studio owner, and Health Coach in Kamloops, BC. A life-long learner, she’s navigated career changes, motherhood, health issues and marital breakdown with increasingly refined skills gleaned from the world of yoga and ayurveda. Her current passion? Supporting others on their journey of evolution by sharing the simple self care practices that have shifted her into a consistent space of clear energy and deep connection.

Find more of her writing on the Yoga Health Coaching Blog.