Eve da Silva Msc, PgDip
Setting up a movement routine has a remarkable impact on wellbeing; it has real and enduring benefits, so it is worth finding a movement routine that works for you and protecting it.
Last night as I finished my evening I got into bed and realised that my body was asking for bedtime yoga. The question presented itself in the form of a restless tension. I have not had a bedtime yoga practice for very long. It emerged when I was staying in the Scottish Highlands in midwinter.
I had felt so connected to nature, so calm and so able to hear my inner wisdom that an evening and morning practice emerged as if by magic. I had no yoga mat, no resistance bands, no blocks - just a folded blanket on the floor and a repertoire of yoga and barre knowledge to draw on to inform a practice that worked for me. There was no struggle, no intentions to set, it just became a natural part of my routine and the intention was simply to listen.
Sadly, this sort of magical emergence of a routine feels as elusive as the fabled unicorn. How wonderful to wake up and actually be in the mood to do the thing our body is asking us to do.
Most of the time establishing a movement routine requires a meaningful why - it can be as simple as valuing health or a concern about how our body presents in the world - but these whys can also be easily compromised by injury, chronic pain or body dysmorphia.
Unfortunately, the thing that our bodies are made to do (move and rest) can get lost when when we are not able to hear the messages our bodies are sending us. For me personally, working at a desk on a computer or sitting in a chair for long periods of time, is a trigger to this decrease in body awareness. As my body awareness decreases I am prone to sitting in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time, unaware that I am promoting injury. Re-establishing a movement routine feels tricky under these circumstances because I am no longer certain whether I am overdoing it or under doing it.
When you are planning your movement and relaxation routines, how would it feel to to consider making your aim to become more able to listen to the signals your body is sending you? Rather than the point of the movement practice being strength, fitness, aesthetics, health or even to feel virtuous; how would it feel to experiment with using your movement and rest practice to feel in tune with yourself?
Growing this inner wisdom, which is a combination of body awareness and taking consistent time for your own needs, is a truly holistic goal. It is perhaps the magic spell that allows us to meet a unicorn.