by Laura Kennedy, Vice President, Marketing & Communications
Five and a half years ago I committed to daily yoga practise. As someone who had loved yoga and been attending ashtanga classes since 1998, it felt a bit daunting, the idea of carving out time each morning for my mat. Inspired by a fabulous yoga teacher and good friend (thanks JP), that one month felt slightly attainable. One month turned into two, and the 20-year weekly practise I had was suddenly a daily ritual. Mats were being rolled out in hotel rooms at hockey tournaments, friends’ homes, cottage docks and all travel destinations. Anywhere that had a flat space was suitable and the views from my mat (or sometimes a towel) of Ollantaytambo, the rainforest, the palm trees of the Pacific and more, are memories I will treasure. Hitting the 2,000 days of daily practise mark was never something I had intended when I started out, nor was attaining my yoga teacher training, but as I’ve discovered, when you commit to yourself, anything is possible.
If you’re looking to start a daily wellness practise, here are a few pointers to get you on your way:
Why did I want a regular yoga practise? That was easy – to feel better in my mind and body. That intention and experience that I always felt better in my mind and body consistently brought me to my mat. What are you looking to achieve with a wellness practise? Why would this benefit you? Once you have your WHY, it’s just a matter of logistics.
Whether it’s once a week or every day, having a dedicated time carved out in your schedule helps build commitment and habit. I prefer first thing in the morning when the house is still quiet and nothing can distract or delay me – other than perhaps the dog! I never thought I could get out of bed earlier to build in the time, and some days my practise might be shorter than others, but every morning I am on my mat.
Preparation seems easy – roll out your mat. Having a dedicated space for my mat in my home meant that I could not walk past it without purposefully disregarding my practise. It was right there staring me in the face and was much harder to ignore. When traveling, I would scout for a good place with a beautiful view or a quiet place on the floor to go to the next morning. It made getting up and going right to my mat, after coffee of course, a little bit easier. Ask yourself, what needs to be ready to support me in going right into this wellness practise at the time I have committed to and prepare yourself accordingly.
Once you are in flow and have your habits fairly well established, make this a non-negotiable practise. Creating boundaries to protect the time that you are dedicating for yourself is the best way to insulate your practise from the things that creep up in daily life. If you know you have to do an early morning hockey run or breakfast meeting, set that alarm that little bit earlier and adjust, but do not let anything that can be moved take place during that time. The world won’t stop spinning if you have to suggest a different time to a friend or make your kids wait for breakfast.
From someone that was a routine SNOOZE button queen, now I can’t even imagine getting up in the morning and NOT being on my yoga mat. Sure, the first few months were challenging, but five and a half years later it’s just a part of my morning ritual and a non-negotiable. The repetition of my morning ritual each day helped make the practise a habit: wake up, coffee, yoga mat. While I had to fight the temptation of getting sidetracked with cleaning the kitchen or other tasks, being committed to that simple morning ritual helped build the practise.
Taking Care of You
I know that by being on my mat every day, not only am I reaping the physical benefits of exercise, I am elevating myself to be clearer, calmer and moving with mindfulness into my day. The longer my morning practise the better I feel throughout the day and I know that benefits everyone in my life. Finding something that helps support our own wellness helps us better navigate our responsibilities and obligations. So while you are saying YES to yourself, you’re also enhancing the experience of those around you by prioritizing your own wellness.
Leaning In When You Need it Most
In challenging times, we can abandon our self-care because bigger things are happening that are taking our attention, time and energy. I’ve learned from experience; this is truly when we need it the most. I don’t know how I could have gotten through the COVID years without it. After an accident in the fall, I was physically unable to have the same rigorous practise I was used to and was tempted to not get on my mat at all. The first few mornings I simply sat and meditated because that was all I could do. While it was a challenging time, that habit I had built kept me going to my mat every morning and I believe it helped me in my recovery.
If you have a wellness habit or practise, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. And if you are looking to create one, trust me that when you start with your intention, carve out the time to make it a priority in your life and use the tools you need to commit, it’s achievable. If I can make these shifts to prioritize daily wellness, you can too!
Laura Kennedy Vice President, Marketing & Communications
Office: 705- 748-5182 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura holds the role of Vice President, Marketing and Communications for the team.
With a background in public relations, Laura Kennedy’s career spans decades working in leadership roles in communication, partnership and event management in Canada and Europe. Laura has a track record of turning dreams into reality that enhances and exceeds outcomes while building long-term, loyal partnerships. She has a passion for team building and mentorship, leading with integrity and seeking measurable results.
In her agency life in Toronto and Ireland, Laura worked for global brands including Vodafone, Johnnie Walker, Corona, Levi’s, Guess, Bridgestone, Pfizer Ireland, Subway UK, Coca-Cola and artists like Bruce Springsteen. On the corporate side Laura has been responsible for developing marketing and communications strategies to build Canada’s largest country music festival, Boots and Hearts. In her recent role as Executive Director of GPHSF, Your Family Health Team Foundation, Laura grew revenue for the organization by 548% in her first 2.5 years in leadership.
A few career highlights include:
• Development and leadership team on 2015 inaugural WayHome Music and Arts Festival making it one of the worlds largest first year music festivals with 35,000 in attendance and global media coverage.
• Working with Aiken Promotions to launch and establish Live at the Marquee as a stronghold in Europe for headlining artists like Elton John, The Who, Bob Dylan, Kanye West and many more.
• Curating a Republic of Ireland launch for the German-based Mustang Jeans Fall/Winter 2006 collection at an 18th century prison, not only was the event at max capacity, it resulted in multiple fashion features, increase in retail distribution channels and product placement with key influencers.
Laura is a member of the CPRS (Canadian Public Relations Society), is an advocate for excellence in communications and has been a guest speaker and panelist at numerous industry events, sharing best-practises and metrics for success. She and her team have been honoured with awards including 5 consecutive CCMAs (Canadian Country Music Awards), CMW (Canadian Music Week) Award, CPRS (Canadian Public Relations Society) Awards, and she was nominated for Cork business woman of the year in 2006.
Laura is a Queen’s University graduate and recently completed her Yoga Teacher Training. She is a longstanding volunteer with the Peterborough Theatre Guild and a board member of the Peterborough Petes Education Fund. She lives in Peterborough with her two teenage boys and their dog Gracie.
Peak Benefit Solutions Inc. was established in 2008 and have helped more than 400 clients from entrepreneurs, manufacturing, professional services and public organizations with their comprehensive benefits planning. Every step of the way, we are with you.