Did I just coin a term? Perhaps. This is my story about trying Appreciation Yoga for 7 days in a row and how it changed everything.
I figured something was wrong when every aspect of my life seemed to be clouded by a grey haze between me and it. It was as though my aura was contaminated, and I couldn’t see things the way I once did. Nothing felt pure. Nothing felt good enough. It wasn’t depression because at my core I still felt hope and positivity for the future; I still had dreams that I was determined to fulfil. But there was a dark cloud infiltrating everything around me and that cloud had to be burst to reveal the sunshine in hiding.
Those interested in fitness and wellbeing will have undoubtedly heard of the benefits of yoga to mind, body and soul. All fitness has remarkable benefits for our brains as well as our physique, but there’s something about yoga that stands apart from the rest. It is a methodical blend of meditative practice and energy flow that can be used as a tool for change in the body, change in our energy, and change in our thought processes.
When I’d had enough of the aforementioned cloud, I decided to commit to a daily routine–a morning routine–to help me get back to that purity I so craved. The reasoning behind opting for morning time–although you could do this at any time of day–is that for me, waking up and diving into this practice immediately is the best way in my mind to put down intentions for having the best possible day. Refreshed from the previous night’s slumber, you can perform this practice before letting any minuscule (or macroscopic) daily tasks create anxiety in your body that can be difficult to suppress. This daily routine is simple, short, and sweet, and doing it on an “empty mind,” as it were, first thing in the morning, makes it far easier to lull the body into relaxation mode than post-food, customer complaints, and meetings gone awry.
You can roll out of bed and do this in your pyjamas, or slip into workout gear should you feel it necessary. There are also no set poses for this routine; I change it up slightly every day depending on my mood. If you are familiar with yoga, feel free to pick and choose poses that you enjoy or want to strengthen, but remember, this short daily practice is not about pushing the limits; it is about using those poses as a physical reflection of appreciation for simple breath and movement of the body.
Half the practice is sitting or in downward facing dog, taking the time to bring our mind and breath in tandem, but add in a few gentle poses to wake the body up for the day and invite in space and stillness. This daily practice has made me realise just how blessed I am to have a healthy body that is there for me when I need and want to use it. When you get back to those basics, you can’t overlook the majestic and simple truths that we can all be grateful for.
Also by Kat: 6 Ways to Create a Work Sanctuary
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Photo and Video: Kat Kennedy