Workout classes are always super-crammed the first couple of weeks of January. The other day, my regular yoga class became a mat-to-mat experience, and I had to chuckle a little at the universal new year enthusiasm.
But in this particular class, the teacher said something cool because there were obviously lots of newbies in the room:
"If you lose balance and fall, it's perfect. If you don't know the pose and have never heard Sanskrit, that's perfect too. Just copy the rest of us and try your best. If you're confused and regret coming at any time — also perfect! Just enjoy yourself. Explore your body's limits. Play around."
And as the class kicked off, I was surprised by something. The experienced yogis seemed to have the least fun of all. I noticed their furrowed brows. Their discomfort when toppling during a standing balance. Their rushing ahead versus flowing with the breath.
As for the newbies, one even asked, "Hey, what's an asana (pose)?" And they had the most fun and probably got the best workout too. A couple of them even went for it with headstands — something I never even attempt after nearly 10 years of going to classes! And it worked!
Let me ask you something for a sec ... Take a breath and think of a time you purely used your head. A time when that brain of yours entirely led the way. What happened?
Now ... Take another breath and think of a time you used your heart. When your heart-space led you fully. What happened then?
Reflecting on that for a moment, do you want more of those heart-driven, intuitive moments to create life? Probably, right? That's how we get to the place where we're going full-throttle and falling over in yoga class, not caring what we look like. Here's how you can sprinkle in more heart-led decisions every day and have far more (unexpected) fun along the way:
1. IMAGINE 2019 IS YOUR LAST YEAR TO LIVE.
What are three things you'd make non-negotiable: spending time with your parents? Writing that book? Visiting the Grand Canyon? Sitting down to have an intimate talk that you've been putting off? Make them real!
2. RISK MORE IN YOUR ROUTINE.
Can you test a new recipe you've always wanted to try and not be married to the outcome? Just give it a whirl with an open, curious mind? If it's good, great! If not, how bad can it be? What's the worst that can happen? It's ramen night! And the best-case scenario — a new fabulous meal in the rotation!
3. SIGN UP FOR SOMETHING NEW.
Can you show up for a new workout without being embarrassed? Every expert was once a beginner, and even the triathlon pros had to learn to ride a bike and swim. People aren't watching, don't worry (they're too focused on themselves). Most classes have beginner options too — including barre, Zumba, SLT!
4. THINK: WHAT HAVE I KINDA ALWAYS WANTED TO DO BUT HAVEN'T MADE A PRIORITY YET?
It can be anything. Can you ditch the reason that's stopping you and just book that trip to India? Try cryotherapy? Register for that self-help seminar or take that evening Spanish class? Go trapezing? What are you waiting for, exactly?
5. CLEANSE YOURSELF OF PERFECTIONIST TENDENCIES.
Expect nothing. Or expect awful. Anything above awful can be a bonus. Can you take yourself a little less seriously? Because joy, ideas, and creativity flow when we're loose, not uptight.
There's nothing wrong with using your head. It's an amazing decision-making filter that keeps you safe and helps you make "sound" decisions. But the brain is not pro-experimentation. Our head likes routine and the perceived security it brings us. But not every decision needs to be sensible. Pure sensibility creates many blocks to new opportunities.
If your 2019 resolutions read like a logical January to-do list, you may wanna infuse a little more heart into them. And what's the heart like as a guide? Well, it doesn't overthink. It feels. It goes where it's called. And who knows where that can take you? Maybe something as unexpected as a successful headstand that would've taken your brain a decade to arrive at.