I was back at my regular Wednesday morning yoga class this week at Cafe Mila having not been since early
December. As we went through the class I really felt like it was jolly hard work after having had such a long break. I was about to get all irked with myself, but instead chose to remember the words that our rather marvellous teacher Liane Ferreira says to us regularly as we find some poses harder than others (and then within that, feeling how it differs week to week). These words are 'Observe, don't judge'. So I spent the 90 minutes observing how tight I was in my shoulders and hips, but contrary to my more usual reaction, I chose not to judge myself for it.
I had the long break as I was busy with the studio, had the coldy chesty thing that was doing the rounds and then had Christmas and New Year, so it was only right that I simply observed how my body had responded to those events, rather than beating myself up about how much I have been affected by not being more active over the past few weeks.
As I was driving home reflecting on the class, I thought 'ooo, blog post' as I think it is that time of year when we start all gung-ho in our efforts to reach our health and fitness goals for the New Year. We may be the type to take it all in our stride as we shake off the excesses of the festive season, but I reckon a large proportion of us have made a habit of judging ourselves and others when endeavouring to improve our fitness and increase our wellbeing. As we get back in to our regular routines and activities, it may be that the lengths you usually swim or the hills you usually walk feel that bit harder than they did in 2015. How do you respond to that different experience for your body? Do you get all frustrated with yourself for letting things slide, or do you just feel what you feel, make note of it and move on?
Pilates, like any other activity, is one that some weeks will feel easy (ish!!) and sometimes feel impossible. When you're doing the full version of the hundred and for some reason you can't stabilise as you pump your arms, your neck starts hurting, or you see your lower tum popping because you're not engaging properly, do you get cross, or do you simply pop your head down, arms down, bend your knees and modify accordingly without judging yourself?
The odds are unless you've been super-disciplined over the last few weeks everything is going to feel a little bit harder. You might be tempted to compare negatively with how you were before Christmas. But how about this year just going 'hey ho...' and getting on with it? Because deep down you know that with practice you will be back to normal and making improvements beyond what was your previous normal in no time at all.
So, as Liane says, 'Observe, don't judge' and remember the joy of time spent with friends and family that distracted you from going for that run. Remember how delicious that Christmas lunch was and how much you relished having posh chocs in the house. Observe, don't judge and move onwards to full fitness and beyond.
Happy 2016 everyone and let's make this a great Pilates year!