Personal Yoga

Personal update: new job, yoga, and the blog

When you feel like you have to preface every new blog with the words “yes, I’m still alive and doing this”, you know that blogging has somehow sunk low on the priority list.  I’m well aware that I haven’t been updating my blog as much as I used to, and when I do it’s mostly about yoga stuff. But even when it comes to that, I have to admit it’s not a smooth and inspired ride. It takes effort, somehow.

Back in early January, I had the excuse that I was simply too busy, which was true. But even after that rollercoaster ride ended, I still didn’t feel called to pour my heart out on the blog. To be perfectly honest, when it comes to blogging, I feel like I’m in a rut. Things have changed and might start changing even more. Why? I will tell you all about it at the end of this blog post. But before I do so, I will elaborate a bit more on the reason why I’m having somewhat of a writer’s block. Because the reason for that is actually a positive one.

Life right now: new job and a lot of yoga

Last time you heard from me, I mentioned I had been busy. The thing that occupied most of my time was my new job. In January, I worked a pretty much fulltime work week while I was transitioning from my old job to my new one. In addition, I started a module on yoga anatomy. All of those things happening at the same time was a bit much, but fun, at least. I’m enjoying my new job and finally earn enough to be completely financially independent whilst only working three days a week.

Although it’s always a bit scary to start a new job, being in a more secure place financially has helped me tremendously in feeling less anxious overall. Despite a few anxiety-ridden moments, I haven’t had a full-blown panic attack in a while now. That says a lot. I’m doing much better mentally than a year ago, and I really feel like I can sort of handle normal life now. On my own terms still, of course.

And it’s kind of nice, you know? I don’t ever see myself working more than three days a week at an office, but I’m surprisingly content with where I am now. I’m happy to divide my week between work, yoga and time for myself. It creates a lot of balance and stability in my life, things I have been lacking before.

Yoga

Since starting the anatomy module in January, this whole “yoga teacher training thing” has definitely taken up a notch. I’m learning a lot, although it’s still very much focused on our own personal inner journey and therefore difficult to share with others – save for the random anatomical knowledge I now have, which I LOVE.

The fact that I have so little concrete things to share about my yoga journey right now, probably means that I’m still processing everything I’m learning. I’m mostly trying to embody yoga at this moment, which means being rather than doing things with it.

No matter how I feel when I wake up, I make an effort to be on my mat. On work days, I can squeeze in about 20 to 30 minutes of yoga, but on the other days, I try to go for at least 45 minutes. Some days my practice consists of mostly shavasana or breathing exercises, and that’s totally fine. It’s the effort and consistency that counts.

What has definitely changed for me is the shift in focus. At this moment, I couldn’t care less about being able to do handstand or a fancy arm balance. That’s not why I practice yoga. I have noticed that I find the greatest joy in tuning in with myself, my body, and the quiet space in between thoughts. Yoga is my refuge, not my acrobatics practice.

As I’m becoming more comfortable with my own yoga routine, the question of when to start teaching is becoming a more prominent one. Officially, we are only ready to start teaching after the second year, but I feel that my teaching journey might start much sooner. In June I will start with yin yoga teaching training on the side (which might be a crazy plan, but let’s find out), so I will be ready to practice my teaching skills this year already. It’s both scary and a lot of fun to think about being able to teach someday soon.

Other habits

In addition to my daily yoga practice, I am trying to pick up my daily meditation practice again as well. I’m realising again and again that real habits are created by consistency rather than by quantity. If I tell myself meditating is useless unless I do it x minutes, chances are I’ll always find an excuse to not make the time for it. But if I just sit down no matter what, regardless of how long I sit, I can truly reap the benefits of my habits, ánd I’ll be able to actually follow through with them.

In that sense, I have definitely noticed my growth in these past few years. When it comes to creating new habits, I always used to believe in the merit of changing everything overnight. Kind of like throwing a dozen balls up into the air and seeing which ones I could catch. I would usually feel some kind of momentum to turn my life around in some way, and just start doing the new thing I envisioned doing – without looking back. That’s how I became a vegetarian nine years ago and started my yoga practice, about seven years ago.

But I also know that sometimes things need time to grow. And I’ve learned the hard way that pushing yourself to do something “perfectly” from the get-go often has an adverse effect. So right now, I’m practicing adding new habits slowly and one at a time. Like learning how to juggle first and before throwing in an extra ball.

For example, instead of telling myself to have a completely ayurvedic lifestyle, I am now doing abhyanga (ayurvedic self-massage) once a week, every Sunday morning before my yoga practice. Not only does it feel great to create this sacred moment for myself, given that I didn’t set the bar too high for myself, it’s also easy to keep up with.

What’s next?

All in all life has been pretty good these days. No major highs, but definitely not as many lows as before. I’m just riding the waves and seeing what happens, trying not to force anything.

Which brings me to the elephant in the room: this blog. It has been pretty quiet out here and I’m not sure if that will change anytime soon.

Why I started this blog

The thing is, I started this blog for two reasons. The main reason was to process my anxiety and explore alternatives ways of living my life. At the moment I wrote my first post, I felt trapped in academic life and was looking for ways to do more with the things I really loved: like spirituality, self-care and all that jazz. A second reason that naturally followed was to see if I could turn this blog into something else: somewhat of a brand, platform, you name it. Something that could give me a sense of purpose. Something bigger than myself.

Looking at the past year and the future ahead, I can say that I’m kind of “done” with the first reason I started the blog. My anxiety was a big source of my writing inspiration, but given that things are much better now, I don’t feel the need to write about it anymore. I don’t need to actively process anything anymore, is what I’m trying to say. It’s like I finished therapy. And exploring alternatives ways of living? Well, I’m doing yoga teacher training now, including many of the other things I was exploring around that time. My life is so much different than life a year ago, and things changed for the better.

When it comes to my second reason for blogging, thing are a bit more ambivalent. Sure, I jumped aboard of the Instagram train some months ago, but I soon realised also possess an awesome combination of a desire to do things my way and laziness. Meaning I don’t feel like following the social media code, with carefully curated and scheduled posts. Things would be different if I felt more serious about creating a business out of whatever it is I’m doing. But this whole blog feels too random to turn it into something else. So I don’t feel like pretending it is something it is not.

In-between

The bottom line is: at this point this blog is like an in-between space. It’s not what it used to be for me, but it’s also not what I would like to make of it, in a perfect world.

In-between spaces are fine. They can be a source of growth and deep learning. And if I truly embrace that, nothing really has to change. After all, I can just be my authentic self here, and flow with the blog’s highs and lows.

But given my future teaching plans, I feel like I might need another platform to share what I want to share. Yes, the teaching business might take a few months still, but you know me: I like to look ahead.

I won’t stop writing on this blog all of a sudden. I still intend to write posts about my yoga teacher training, but I will take my sweet time with that too. And I’ll see what else emerges. In the mean time, I’m going to start brainstorming about where I’ll go next.

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