There’s a practice in yoga called yin, for those unfamiliar with it, it is what I remember as yoga from my childhood in the 70s. We get in poses that stretch our body and we stay there from three to five minutes. The point of the exercise is to let our joints, tendons and fascia tissue relax and stretch creating flexibility. We who have had the experience of sitting uncomfortably for any length of time will be able to attest to the human’s ability to not notice discomfort initially. As time wears on, our foot may become numb or our knee strained, it becomes harder and harder to sit still. So when we practice Yin, we keep that in mind and we seek our edge. Our edge is not the farthest we can go, it is enough that we feel sensation and still maintain the pose for an extended period of time. Through the practice our edge may change, we might be able to go a little deeper into the pose we may need to pull back.
Creating wellness requires us to look at the changes we need to make as Yin poses, rather than s.m.a.r.t. (specific, attainable, measurable, realistic, timely) goals. It is tempting to get fixated on numbers whether they be zeros in a bank account, or numbers on a scale. Living is a process that does not end when we reach our savings goal or ideal weight. The goal is to make maintainable changes; those changes create wellness. It is effective to use minimums as achievement standards. Now my minimum for yoga is three times a week, when I began it was one.
The reality is that changing habits and building mental wellness requires a number of different tactics motivations and work styles. I loved taking summer courses in university. The fast pace in the immersion in to the material was ideal for the way that I learn. I like feeling I am swimming in the subject when I’m learning about something new. If it is a subject that I am not interested in however, I need to learn in small chunks and then take time to process.
In our endeavor to find best practices is important to keep in mind that any best practice won’t be best for every situation.