Self Practice as a Ceremony: doing less, being more
The last month I have practiced doing less stuff and simply being more in my personal life but I found that this quickly filtered through to my self practice with profound effects.
Here are some of my biggest takeaways:
Authenticity: It's helped me respect the sacredness of my personal practice and the energy I bring to that space. This translates to - not everything needs to be shared, talked about or filmed. Sounds simple enough but think about it next time you pull your phone out for a little insta storey! Do you even need your phone to be in the same room!?
Energy giving: Lots of my sessions now start with a restorative practice. It's something borrowed from Yoga and It helps me really connect to my body and know what I need. I've notice the little intricacy, the habitual patterns I go into both physically and in the way I talk to yourself. I'm at a stage in my life where I need my sessions to slow me down, reconnect me, and give me more energy not take it away. This still means that It can be a really challenging, sweaty kind of session but it just feels more like I'm doing this because I love my body not because I feel the need to push my body to look a certain way.
Fighting FOMO: The subtle pressures of the working in the 'fitness industry' can be really heavy and often keep us connected to our devices for faaaar to long. In the beginning this felt really uncomfortable as I had to say no to a lot of other commitments, workshops, learning opportunities or sessions. I had serious FOMO which would often side track me and stop me from enjoying what I was doing. However, I slowly got better at this and an inner confidence and respect of what feels right for me has arisen. So although something sounds like a great opportunity and I know that I would have fun sometimes it still has to be a no and that's ok.
My home Practice has become a ceremony of sorts: Have you ever thought about the role masculine and feminine energy play in your life? Is it in balance? Do you respect them equally? Is your place of work more masculine or feminine? Have you ever thought about how this translates to the way you practice? or how you bring these energies to the way you teach? By being more present and being ok with spending time by yourself, going inward and exploring movement with no pressure for it to look a certain way or be right or wrong is so freeing! I found that it's also brought out this beautiful, spacious, open feminine energy that has transformed my home practice into a ceremony. The space I move in has become more important (Think candles, music, dim lights, warmth). My sessions start with slow flows (think meditation, ooozy hip rolls or cat stretches). Yes I always have an idea of something I'm working towards but starting my sessions like this have become like 'questions' for my body to pause, to notice and to respect where I am at and move from that place first.
How to put it into action!
1. Reflect: What feels good and gives you energy? What feels sticky and takes your good energy away? Now look at where you are spending your time - on the energy giving or draining activities? Are you spending your time doing those things on a daily, weekly, monthly basis? are you prioritising things that lift you up or doing shit that doesn't actually matter to you!? Do you move to feel good or look good?
2. Unplug: Go on an information ban for 5-10 days. No social media, no watching or listening to the news, no self development books or podcasts! Instead spend that time going inward, how do you feel about your body? your work? your relationships? do something creative, get out in nature, be present in your conversations, journal and try something new!
3. Redesign your practice and space!: Take time to create a ceremony around your self practice and make it feel more aligned to your needs and your goals. Let go of judgments, comparisons and the fear of missing out! Spend time creating a new space for yourself to practice in - that's always set up! Write out a few workout plans according to your goals/needs. Find a different way to start your practice and feel into your body. Print out some photos or quotes that inspire you and stick them on the walls. May sound kind of woo woo but why not give it a go? why not allow yourself to feel good in the space you practice in!
Some resources to help you
The Pilates Playbook - a notebook for Pilates Instructors. Both a class planning tool and self reflection guide. Helping Instructors figure out there teaching philosophy and what success means for them.
Episode 32: Warrior Goddess Training with Guest HeatherAsh Amara (The Urban Monk Podcast)