Inspired by my recent interview with Kate Elizabeth Taylor in issue 1 of my monthly newsletter, which is all about "inspiration" in these crazy times, I decided to list out the 10 things that are keeping me going and keeping me sane.
All of these things are helping me cope with the current isolation situation and all that is going on. Each in a different way helps me stay in a positive headspace (or find my way back if I'm in a funk) and so I hope they can help you do the same!
Comment below and let me know which you are currently doing or would like to try.
Earthing: Gardening is not my forte, but the opportunity to weed some flowerbeds and attack overgrown hedges with secateurs has felt amazing.
Like yoga, it is a way of working with the body (you may be surprised how much of a workout it is) and a great way to practice being present. Each morning, I like to go outside and meditate. When I'm finished I simply place my hands on the grass and breathe. It's the simplest act imaginable but you'll be amazed how magical it feels, along with how grounded and connected you feel after.
Baking: In the mad rush of London life I don't get the chance to bake nearly as much as I would like. I'm no great cook, but when I need something productive-yet-relaxing to do, baking is one of my go-to's. Personally, I love the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook -- the recipes are delicious and very easy to follow. You can find their chocolate chip cookie recipe and their brownie recipes online. Two of my favourites. Right now I'm also loving baking as a wonderful way to share and connect with the people I'm currently sharing a roof with.
Writing: Last year I published my first book and, although the process is definitely a challenge, I absolutely relish it. Currently, I'm working on my next yoga book and the creative rush of researching and writing keeps me both occupied and inspired. They say that we all have a book in us. I always assumed my first published work would be fiction, so I was as surprised as anyone to find a 100-page book on the business side of being a yoga teacher in my hands. Take this time to discover what you love writing about. Just embrace the process, see what happens and remember it's impossible to edit an empty page!
Journaling: I see writing and journaling as intertwined yet different. With writing, especially if you plan to publish what you write, there are rules and standards you have to follow; there has to be a certain polish and finish to the work so you spend a lot of time editing. With journaling, there are no rules and no edits required! My writing is usually typed and structured, but journaling for me is now an offline activity. I sit down with my notebook and just let my feelings flow out through my pen. It is never intended to be read by anyone else, so it doesn't matter if it waffles or makes no sense. Journaling is a wonderfully liberating activity to cultivate and you may be surprised by how inspiring it is to go back days, weeks, months or even years later and remind yourself what was in your head that day.
Meditation: Taking time out to meditate is another activity which can do easily be lost in the daily rush -- even for yoga teachers. Always remember that with meditation, much like with journaling, there are no 'rules'. Any time you take for yourself in silence can be a form of meditation. Just enjoy the stillness and observe what comes. My favourite meditation channel is The Honest Guys (they can be found on YouTube or Spotify). They have a lot of the standard guided meditations along with stuff that is more out-there and fantastical (my inner nerd loves meditations in Middle-Earth). Taking a few minutes out in the morning for meditation and then 30mins or so in the afternoon, if I can, has noticeably upped my energy in a time when it is all-too-easy to feel drained.
Studying: I'm often told that I don't take time out or rest enough (which is true, even in lockdown) but I also know that new learning keeps me inspired and always has. My advice, especially at the moment, would be to find a topic which truly inspires you. As I say a lot in yoga classes: Try to surrender the ego. So let go of what you think you ought to study and choose something you'd genuinely love to explore. And remember that this doesn't have to become a "side hustle", it doesn't have to be career-focused. Choose something that really lights you up and enjoy the process of learning. My latest study project has been an online Reiki course on Udemy.
Reading: As a writer, feel almost ashamed that I have to admit this! But I'm trying really hard to get back into reading for pleasure. I don't mean teaching materials or study materials -- I consume those avidly and pretty much daily. I mean just sitting down with a good novel and escaping for a bit. Bliss.
Gratitude: When you feel overwhelmed, as we all do from time to time, focusing on what you do have can be a great distraction to take away from what you don't have. I'll be honest -- this whole situation has cost me and my business very dearly. New opportunities have opened, but I have lost more weekly clients and classes then I care to count. That naturally has a knock-on effect on major life plans that I hoped to put in place. So, when I'm all up in my head, stopping and listing three things I'm grateful for today is a great way to re-inspire me to keep going. Always remember that there is only ever one thing in life to do -- the next thing.
Exercise: I find the inspiration here is in the challenge, so don't just stick to what you're familiar with. Yoga is great and I love it, but it's not where a healthy body begins and ends by any means. I've enjoyed running the country lanes around my house when I can (I'm no star runner -- I run about 3k at the moment). Or improving my 'pull' strength with resistance bands, which are a new form of fitness for me but one I can already tell are doing great things for my upper body. Exercise should be fun but it shouldn't just be the same things over and over. If it feels tough or you're unmotivated, just remember that by getting off your couch, even if only for a few minutes, you've lapped everyone who stayed on it. If you need help getting your home yoga practice underway you can contact me for one to one online lessons.
Loving: I'm lucky enough to be in a place where I'm surrounded by people I love. We may not get on all day every day, especially when we're together pretty much all day every day, but choosing consciously to be loving rather than engage in conflict goes a long way to staying inspired.
I've found that conflict and anger only take our energy away. Love and being loving gives a lot of energy back.
Hope this list helped you to stay inspired or brought you some new ideas. For more interviews with inspiring yogis, along with tips, music and more, please subscribe to my monthly newsletter.