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The Art of Pacing - A well paced life is a happy life!

Recently, I have been contemplating the practice of Samyam or pacing, which I believe is one of the most valuable teachings I received during my yoga therapy training. Despite its simplicity, this concept holds great significance for achieving optimal well-being, for both mental and physical health. Samyam is a yoga practice that can be embraced by anyone, and its benefits extend far beyond the mat, making it a truly transformative practice that can positively impact one's life.

Historically I have been not been someone who paces themselves well. I have been the kind of person who feels like I can do everything, I would said yes to anything asked of me as well of a tonne more things I’ve asked of myself. Then at some point I would always hit overwhelm and burnout and end up having to drop something to be able to get it all done. Usually the things that got dropped were my own self care, time with friends or anything else that would count as quality time for me. I am happy to say that I am finally learning to do things differently and am getting much better at pacing myself. 35 years into life and I am calling this a win!!

One area of my life where this has been relevant for me lately is in my garden. I moved house at the end of last summer and am very fortunate to have a lovely garden in my new house. I have so many ideas for things I want to do and plants I want to grow and I did recently start to feel a little overwhelmed with all the projects I was planning for this summer. Luckily, with the help of my yoga practice and a good old dose of Samyam (pacing) I’ve been able to step back and take a look at what I’m planning and what needs to be done. Then rather than attempting to get it all happening at once, I have picked a couple of key areas to work on for now. I spent some time considering what was most important to me and worked out how to get these things happening on a small scale for now, knowing that I will spread out to other areas once these things are established and need less of my time.

It feels so refreshing to know I’m not gonna hit the peak of summer and be swamped with plants to water, weeds to control and a number of other endless tasks I’ve created for myself because I got carried away at the first sign of sunshine and spring. This new better paced way of doing things has meant I’ve had more time to spend with my family over the holidays and more time to relax and enjoy the garden (which is the whole point in having it really). I have also managed to actually finish things and get projects ticked off my list already because I’m not running roun trying to do 20 different things at once.

As I have gradually integrated the practice of Samyam into my daily life over the past few years, I have come to recognise its significance in maintaining my wellbeing. As a result, I now make it a big part of my daily yoga practice. I really love and appreciate practices like Samyam which are just as relevant off the mat as they are on, maybe even more so. It’s these practices which I find are the most important and life changing aspects of yoga both in my personal life and with the clients I work with as a yoga therapist.

Here are a few tips I have found useful in my practice of Samyam so that you too can benefit from a bit of pacing in your life:

  • Recognise that everything doesn't have to happen at once. Long-term goals are important, and some things take time to develop. Trust in life's unfolding and know that it's okay to take things slowly.

  • Give yourself space. Pacing is all about knowing when to go and when to stop, when to do and when to rest. In order to be able to do this you need to take a step back, see what’s happening and make considered choices. You can’t do that if you are caught in an avalanche of activity, always running from one thing to the next and never coming up for air. When you stop to put some space around yourself and the things you are doing you can be sure you are making choices that are right and aligned with your needs.

  • Practice self-awareness. From a place of spaciousness, you can become more attuned to your needs and desires. This will allow you to make choices that are aligned with your values and passions and know that the things you choose to spend your time on are what really matters to you and what lights you up.

  • Recognise your needs. It's important to prioritise your own needs and not just focus on pleasing others. Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it's essential for your wellbeing.

  • Allow yourself rest. Rest is often undervalued in our society, but it's crucial for recharging our batteries and avoiding burnout. Make sure to take breaks and prioritise relaxation as much as productivity.

  • Balance, Balance, Balance: To pace yourself effectively, it's crucial to find a balance. This means balancing your activities with rest, doing what you enjoy with what you have to do, and work with play. Everyone's idea of balance is different, so take time to evaluate your life and see if you have a balance that feels good for y. If not, start by making small changes and identify areas where you can shift, change, or let go.

Samyam or pacing is a valuable practice that has the power to positively impact our lives, both on and off the mat. I have experienced the benefits of pacing both in my personal and professional life and I can attest to the transformative power of Samyam. By taking the time to recognise our needs, give ourselves space, and practice self-awareness, we can learn to pace ourselves effectively and find a balance that feels good for us. So, if you're feeling overwhelmed or struggling to find balance in your life, I encourage you to give Samyam a try. Trust me, it's worth it. And of course if you want an help or support with this I am here, do get in touch.

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