Let’s Talk: Getting Back on Track

Why is it that setting good habits takes so damn long but losing them takes about a day and a half? The day and a half may be a slight exaggeration but staying on track with good health, choices and habits can be a challenge.

At the beginning of this year, my goal was to have a proper morning routine. I would wake up, get on my mat (even if it were just for 5 minutes), meditate, wash my face, drink lemon water and read before making breakfast. It was only after making breakfast that I would allow myself to check any screens. That meant no TV, phone, computer or tablet for at least an hour and a half after waking up. I had an awesome track record for this routine (and felt amazing) up until the summertime when I started my teacher training, then it all turned sour. You see, I am not naturally an early riser. I love sleep. Love it. No matter what time I go to bed, I find myself sleeping at least 10 hours if I don’t set an alarm. So when I had to be awake at 6.00am in order to have the time to fulfill my routine (even 6 was a time-crunch) and be at the studio by 7.30, I knew I was going to have some problems.

The first day went alright, but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I barely slept from anticipation. The second day, I was already exhausted by the full days of training so the rest of the 200hrs I was lucky if I woke up with enough time to make tea and grab a muffin on my way out the door.

The rest of the summer was no better seeing as it was basically a long vacation at the cottage so when we closed up the cottage for the season and came home I felt that fall was when I would finally get back on track, only to find that habits are way harder to make than they are to break.

There’s a study that says it takes 21 days, or 3 weeks to make a habit. I’m here to tell you that’s a lie. There is no way that it’s only 21 days to make an unbreakable habit form in your bones. Maybe a 6 months, maybe even a full year, but 21 days? I dispute!

Nothing would make me happier than to get back into my morning routine but every morning without fail, I somehow reach for my phone, check Instagram, tell myself I’ll meditate when I’m in yoga class, make breakfast and immediately plop myself in front of the TV (Gilmore Girls is calling!).

So here’s the challenge. Did you make yourself a resolution at the beginning of the year? Well it’s New Years isn’t the only time to make resolutions! In fact, we can make them any time we want. Isn’t that a revelation? Therefore, I invite you to revisit any habits you want to change, develop or break and resolve to work on them with me this month. We can do it together and we will definitely feel better once we get back on track. I’ll keep you updated and you can check in with me at any time if you need some support! I’ll be up at 8am, on my mat, meditating, ignoring my phone in no time. Remember, you can get back on track at any point of the day, just cause the morning wasn’t great, doesn’t mean that your afternoon or evening won’t be. Take it day by day! Good luck!

Namaste.

Stream of Conciousness about Social Media

So many feelings about all the talk about Essena O’Neill being so transparent about social media and Instagram especially when this all happened right as I’m learning that being a yoga teacher means being a independent contractor and that I’m working for myself and selling my services and social media is a big part of that reality. I felt strange about starting a public Instagram in general, I have had a private Instagram account (with fewer than 50 followers) for over a year, I feel comfortable and safe posting there, knowing that only family and close friends will see what I put out. I have had strangers and even old friends try to get access to those photos, and I say no, so to choose to post publicly and then go even further and hashtag the hell out of the photos to gain followers hasn’t exactly felt natural.

I began taking photos of my practice basically when I got Instagram last year (I had just gotten an iPhone – yes super late to the game) and also around the time that I started to practice yoga regularly, seriously and beyond the asana. My practice made me feel good mentally, it made me appreciate by body and it’s abilities instead of putting myself down and gave me so much strength. I appreciated and loved seeing micro-improvements each time I practiced and taking photos was a fun way of documenting this progress and sharing what I could do with family and friends. 

My first photos were taken exactly like the ones I still take. I ask Jamie (or my brother, or a friend in-studio) if he has time to take a photo (and then once he says yes I convince him that 10 different asana photos are sorta like 1), I may or may not be warmed up, and we take them. We don’t seek out places to take the photos, I am extremely fortunate to have a cottage to go to and have a park nearby so I can take gorgeous outdoor shots. The photos aren’t edited (other than a cool Instagram filter here or there). I’m usually sweaty. I sometimes look at them and feel self-concious. Sometimes I look at them and feel awesome. 

My public instagram has way more followers than I could have ever imagined. With the Essena O’Neill story blowing up, I’ve done even more introspection into why I’m choosing to use social media and what it’s effects are on me and my life outside of this emerging business. 

I’ve noticed that on public social media, I choose to keep family and friends more or less separate. I also tend to veer away from photos that are head shots or where you can explicitly see my face. I posted a head shot a few weeks ago (before the numbers of people seeing my photos had mushroomed) and since there has been more traffic to my page, the amount of creepy and unwanted comments on my appearance has further deterred me from posting more personal shots. Because of this, unfortunately its not exactly a safe space.

Why then do I keep posting? For the same reason that I go to a yoga studio, I am looking to be part of a community. I want to be surrounded by like-minded people with beautiful and inspiring souls. Unfortunately, as in real life, we have to weed out the creeps. I also realize that even if I don’t like it, social media is a strong presence and a useful tool for me to market my brand and let people know about me as a yoga teacher and allow for potential students to learn what I am about. 

I feel to some degree that as an emerging teacher, I do have to stand out, I do have to do something to bring attention to what I do and social media is an effective way of doing this. However, I understand and respect what Essena is saying, and I think she has also opened up an extremely important dialogue with her transparency. Although I remain so conflicted, I am choosing to keep control over my public accounts by only posting what I am comfortable with posting, and follow a strict no creepiness policy (my account is clearly business related, if someone posts something irrelevant, posts me in something unrelated, sends me an inappropriate message, etc they are immediately deleted and blocked, no questions asked). I also choose to keep all my Instagram notifications off. I check when I put up my daily post and then I leave it for the day. 

I’m extremely thankful for the conversations that have come out of Essena’s video and it is directly because of her post and the traction that it has gotten that I have been inspired to confront the feelings regarding the business of social media that have been mulling in my head for weeks now and further adding to the anxiety of making this dream of teaching a reality. It is because of her that I want it to be known that my photos are a product of my love and passion for the yoga practice and I want them to reflect that. For this reason they are not and will not be edited. They will be reflective of my practice and the practice I can hopefully inspire as a teacher. They are not paid for. I will remain open and honest about what I put into the world. I want to be inspiration. I don’t want to be #goals. Let’s continue this conversation, encourage honesty on social media and hopefully ignite passion for yoga through this medium.