This is my motto for this year: Do less.
When teaching yoga, we sometimes emphasize that it’s not yoga, until you try less. You can practice a yoga pose, but it’s not “yoga,” until you are that pose. You want to let the pose breathe through you, or rest upon you. You can’t force it, or muscle into it. You have to be it.
I believe that the reason people often don’t stick to their resolutions to get more fit is that they burn out when they try to go from couch to marathon. So instead of promising to workout harder or more often, what about trying less? What if you found just enough of a workout schedule that you felt that instead of “doing” it, you could “be” it? There is a chance you stick with it, and you might even increase your commitment over the year without a conscious decision to do so.
The practice of yoga is an inward journey. Although there are many variations and practices for you to choose from, the best yoga is the one you do.
It is the same with exercise. I have tried many activities: CrossFit, running, aerobics. But the one that sticks is the one I can do effortlessly, which usually is riding a stationary bicycle. The actress and fitness pioneer Jane Fonda has written that after a certain age exercising vigorously does not have any more benefit than moving your body consistently and with compassion. I’m working on having more compassion for my body.
So this year I am going to quit working out so much. I am going to “be” my active lifestyle rather than “do” it all the time. I am going to focus on what makes me happy and let the rest go. In this way, I hope to find the ease in my workout, and work in to greater health and well-being off the mat.
Michelle Marchildon is the author of “Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga” and “Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga.” She is an E-500 RYT based in Denver, CO.