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Break The Cycle and Check In

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

Get the kids to school, work, pick up shopping, take kids to after school clubs, clean the house, cook dinner, walk the dog, squeeze in the gym, collapse.

Walk the dog, pick up grandchildren, entertain the grandchildren, tidy up after the grandchildren, run errands for older family members, put the bins out, walk the dog again, cook dinner, fall asleep.

Work on the house, work on the garden, chop wood, see to the animals, try and remember to eat, finally sleep.

For so many of us, it seems it doesn't matter how old we are, our days are full and we wonder how we are supposed to fit in any more. We don't have time for ourselves, besides we are so busy running around thinking about all the things we need to do that we don't check in with ourselves, notice how we feel, until our body tells us that something is really wrong. Our mind is a constant chatter of to do lists which keeps a constant level of stress rolling in the background. Food often becomes whatever we can quickly get our hands on and rest is a last resort until the body forces us to sleep. With such a busy mind, day, life how are we supposed to know what we really need. If we don't think about ourselves, how are we supposed to love ourselves?

Yoga teaches us the art of internal reflection, it helps to bring us into the present moment, spending time learning about our bodies, minds, energy and emotions, through movement, breathing and meditation. The more we practise this in class then the easier it becomes to stay in tune with our body etc and recognise what we need to look after ourselves on a daily basis. This then allows us to begin to practise the very basics of self love - what and when we should eat, when we need to rest, take things as easily as life allows, when we need to be quiet, when we need to reach out and connect with others.

Of course as a yoga teacher I want everyone to find a class or two to go to regularly, but as a mum, full time worker and full time student I know that getting to another activity just isn't an option for many of us. But there are simple lessons (if hard ones when we first try them) that we can take and use in our daily lives, that only need a short moment and can be used whenever we need them.

Here is a short internal reflection that we can use to bring us into the present moment and check in with how we are feeling and what we may need. It can be done anywhere, before getting out of bed, standing waiting for the kettle to boil, sitting in the car outside school at home time, at your desk, or if you have the luxury of quiet time, sitting on the sofa, and you only need as much time as you have.

1. Close your eyes

2. Notice the surface that you are sitting, lying, standing on.

3. Bring your hands to your rib cage and belly

4. Take 5 slow breaths in (more if time allows) - slow breaths helps to relax the systems in the body.

5. Scan through the body from head to toe - noticing how the body feels, what different sensations there are, recognising what feels good as well as what might feel tight or uncomfortable.

6. Scan through the mind, notice the train of thoughts and how busy the mind is.

7. Notice what your energy levels feel like.

8. Notice how you feel emotionally.

9. Finish with 3 slow breaths (more if time allows)

10. Open your eyes

Don't judge anything as you scan and check through everything, this quiet moment is about noticing and being present. But after if there is anything that has come up that you want to think about then of course you can - after all if we are going to create better awareness we then need to act on what we discover in order to practise all aspects of self love.

Remember even spending a short time being quiet and present can be challenging but stick at it it does get easier! Anything worth doing takes effort and self love is worth putting effort into.

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