How to Prop Up Your Most Essential Life Habits
Updated: Apr 3
My last post was about hope. How to maintain an open-awareness model of hope that allows us to find the grace in (or at least not spend too much time angering against) whatever life presents us with.
Today I wanted to take a minute to reflect on how to build a network of support for yourself and why that’s helpful when starting a new project, a new season, or when things feel tough.
I recently started a 300-hour Yoga Teacher Training (300 hours after 200 hours is the equivalent of a terminal degree in the Western yoga world) at Three Queens Yoga in Queen Village. It’s a big time commitment and I don’t have a car so I’m reliant on SEPTA to transport myself there.
I was both looking forward to that first weekend AND I was feeling some dread about not totally understanding how to time my commute and not knowing how the training itself would feel.
I’m happy to report that the training FEELS FANTASTIC and my commute is not quite as long as I thought, though it’s also admittedly not feeling short or habitual yet.
The first module I took was a 25-hour training on Restorative Yoga a few weeks ago. Restorative Yoga means many things to many different people but it usually involves using A LOT of props and support to bring the ground towards you so that you can find a passive, supported release into the earth.
The setup can feel fussy and annoying (to be totally honest). When I tell students in classes I teach at Studio 34 to grab two blankets, two blocks, a strap and a bolster they usually groan. It can feel like a lot of work to lug all that stuff to your mat, and sometimes they also feel nervous about what we could possibly need all this stuff for.
Restorative yoga involves not only a ton of stuff, it also usually requires a lot of blanket folding and unfolding in an origami-like action, but once you’re settled you might stay in the pose for up to 5 minutes. So, eventually, it's worth it.
The first night of the training ended with a 90-minute class that felt like a timeless 15. I could have kept going forever. I really melted in and because we did all of our potentially-annoying blanket folding and placement of blocks and bolsters ahead of time, we were all ready to ooze towards the floor.
The class reminded me of how important it is to set up your foundation (those actions and skills you need to feel supported and able to thrive) WAY AHEAD OF TIME/BEFORE YOU NEED THEM. Sure, you could come up out of every yoga pose and find your blocks or refold your blankets, and you can, technically, get up in the middle of class to go get a bolster from across the room, but the practice is SO MUCH SWEETER when you take the time to have everything accessible and ready to go ahead of time.
For many of us in daily life, this means having groceries in the house, a loose (or tight) meal plan (for a day or a week according to your needs), knowing when we will find some exercise/movement, remembering to drink water, even patterning in when we brush our teeth.
In times of change, like my new yoga commute, or this new season, or maybe in your 2023/springtime aspirations, it’s easy for the foundational props of life (the food, the timing, your rest time or sleep) to get wonky and out of whack.
As much as you’re able to, I’ll invite you to take the time to remember what daily habits and actions feel non-negotiable and essential to your wellbeing and health. Make a list then take the time to reflect on a plan to pattern these habits in.
Your routine may never be perfect (or perfectly-stable) which is why I always have red lentils and frozen vegetables available at home, for those days where my meal planning might not be my biggest priority, or days where I’m not so interested in cooking creatively.
Know what you need to feel grounded, and take some time to reflect on how you can reinforce your foundational life props so that you can settle into this damp, shifty and often exciting season of spring.
May you be happy and free.