While I like routine, I also need flexibility.

 

If I set a rigid self-care or mindfulness schedule, I will spend much time and energy dreading what I “have to” do.

 

 

The Experiment

 

This week I decided to experiment with a new way to approach my mindfulness and self-care plan.

 

I created a flexi-self-care plan, in which I set weekly goals without a specific schedule.

 

My goals

 

I wanted to include:

 

3 Yoga Classes

6 Sitting Meditations

3 Mindful Movements (exercise, but done mindfully).

 

Each day I could chose whichever practice my body felt like doing.

 

This week I am happy to report:

 

6 Sitting Mindfulness Meditation Practices – both at home and in the office, ranging from 5 minutes to 45 minutes.

6 Yoga Practices – Restorative, Hatha, Yin and Yang, Restorative, Gentle Flow, Restorative and Yoga Nidra.

4 Mindful Moments – 2 Runs, 1 Walk, 1 Swimming Laps.

 

 

The Results

 

This week I ended up with more mindfulness practices than I normally have.

 

I’ve found that I’ve had more energy and have required less sleep.  I normally require 7-8 hours of sleep, yet this past week I have only been requiring 6-7 hours.

 

I’ve had more energy and better focus.

 

My mood has been very calm (less agitation when stuck in traffic).

 

My appetite has been more balanced – no urges for emotional eating, more cravings for healthy, clean foods.

 

I’ve done short gratitude practices before working with each client – I believe this makes me a better clinician.

 

Went to the doctors – my blood pressure was 104/70 BOOM!

 

What’s Next?

 

I quite like my flexi-self-care plan idea!

 

My mindfulness goals for next week are:

 

3 Yoga Practices

3 Mindful Movements (see, it sounds so much better than “exercise”)

6 Sitting Meditations

1 Mindful Cooking

3 Mindful Meals

 

Your Turn

 

What mindfulness goals would you like to set for the next 7 days?

 

Share it in the comments below and then come back once you’ve completed them.  Remember to make your goals realistic – you can increase them over time.

 

 

Full of judgement

At first I didn’t like the class at all, she pushed me to try poses my body hadn’t tried before.

I was annoyed and shaking and sweating and probably began to pout.

 

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Less judgement

 

Then, after the third time she adjusted me, I began to feel safe with her adjustments.

 

She could see how my body was out of alignment and firmly, but safely, adjusted my position so that I could get the most from each pose.

 

Embracing my imperfections

 

Half way through the class, as I looked down to notice sweat drops pouring onto my mat, I began to feel comfortable and embraced my imperfections.

 

My body trembled, I stumbled through transitions and I released some of the new poses before others in the class.

 

I’m pretty sure I laughed out loud at one of the poses.  I was clearly in an advanced class.

 

Getting out of my comfort zone

 

I felt really good about trying my best and began to think about a few things…

 

I haven’t felt uncomfortable in a while.  I tend to do the same yoga practices, often at home, without someone to teach me personally.

 

I often do the same mindfulness meditation practices.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I find these practice beneficial and attend to each of them with a beginners mind, so I always learn something about myself.

 

What I did realize is that to grow and change we need to go through the uncomfortable process of developing new skills or muscles.

 

What makes a good yoga teacher

 

I began to reflect on what makes a good yoga teacher for me.

 

I like a yoga teacher who can see what my body is capable of and will firmly guide my body to that position and teach me how to hold it.

 

This allows me to feel safe and to engage new muscles in order to hold the pose.

 

I want my teacher to teach me about the muscles and movements of the poses.

 

I want my teacher to guide me in focusing my mind and using my breath, to achieve the full benefits of my practice.

 

I’ve been to many classes (mostly in large gyms) where teachers don’t provide adjustments or do much teaching about the purpose behind the move.

 

That doesn’t work for me.

 

Today I remembered what makes a good teacher for me and how important it is to find a good fit.

 

Me as a teacher

 

I try to remember this as a mindfulness meditation teacher and hope that my style teaches people in ways that both push and support them to deepen their practice.

 

Next year I plan to take my Yoga Teacher Training.  I’m very excited about this and realize that I need to start pushing myself in my practice.

 

I’m glad I’ve found a teacher who will help take me to the next level.

 

What about you?

 

What makes a good teacher for you?  Either a yoga teacher or meditation teacher?  What makes them a good fit for you? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Share it!

 

My hope is to build a supportive online community for people learning and practicing mindfulness meditation and yoga so please share this with others how practice.