(This is part I of a two-part series. Check out part II on how to build positive habits into your day in 10mins or less here)
You know the quote, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying”?
As a life coach and yogi, I take this quote to heart, sometimes with disastrous repercussions. I feel guilty that I’m not learning enough or “self-improving” more quickly.
The guilt and stress come from the fact that – although biologically true – the quote’s pithiness fails to capture one simple emotional truth:
Growth doesn’t feel like a linear process for the person growing.
You have times of big progress followed by periods of riding the wave of previous growth.
It’s like lying down at the end of yoga class – you need time to rest and incorporate all the new information.
Even if you don’t think you’re doing much, pausing to integrate and assimilate is key. Without it, you can’t grow more later.
Here are two of my favorite ways to rest and consolidate during these mini-plateaus in your overall growth:
(Next time, I’ll be giving you a sneak peak into how I build personal growth into my daily life so it becomes a habit, not a bonus for when you have the time and inclination.)
1. Yoga Nidra
You’ll love Yoga Nidra because you get to lie down and nap without actually napping. A 30-minute Yoga Nidra feels like a 2-hour nap – I’m not kidding, it’s awesome.
You move through a systematic process to deeply relax the body while the mind stays conscious so you can work with it.
Yoga Nidra is like a sacred resting space in which the conscious brain takes a back seat so you can acknowledge and explore your sub- and un-conscious minds.
The practice embodies the concept of pausing – letting you be still so deep learning and transformation can unfold within.
You can use Yoga Nidra both when you’re actively growing and when you’re feeling the urge to chill out and consolidate – it works equally well in both phases.
Although you can guide yourself through a Yoga Nidra once you know the technique, I prefer to follow along to a recording by a skilled teacher. I rotate between the 12 Yoga Nidras recorded by my teachers in New Zealand found here.
When you’re growing and expanding, it’s easy to focus on yourself – your goals, your vision, and your plans. But during a time of integration and assimilation, you may not have the clarity, drive, or focus to move forward independently.
During these times, connect with others. Specifically – laugh with others.
Laughing works for one, big-fat reason:
You don’t experience joy from a place of striving – you experience it from a place of deep acceptance.
Accepting yourself, your life, and your circumstances is the hallmark of a growth “mini-plateau”. Your inner “yes” is what allows you to consolidate your experiences, growth, and learning and prepare you for your next personal growth spurt.
Laughing puts your challenges in perspective and lets you off the hook for not being more perfect, successful, and accomplished.
Rediscover your ability to laugh, play, and experience joy.
Enjoy a leisurely dinner with friends recounting old, embarrassing stories. Go roller-skating. Take a laughter yoga class. Watch newborn animals learn to walk.
Whatever gets you giggling will do the trick.
Next time you feel like you’re in a slump, add in some laughter and Yoga Nidra. Give yourself a break, enjoy the time to rest, and know you’re still on the right path.
What are your favorite ways to honor yourself during your growth mini-plateaus?