When I talk to people who are wondering how to get started with improving their health and wellness, something I always talk about is the importance of starting small.
It’s very easy to get carried away with an initial burst of enthusiasm and then not be able to keep it up for the long term. But what matters most on your wellness journey is consistency. So, it’s better to start with something manageable – perhaps just two minutes of face yoga at the end of your morning skincare routine, or a 5-minute meditation practice before you go to bed.
Then, when you see the benefits of these small habits to your mind and body, you’ll naturally start to grow your practices in a way that is sustainable for the long term.
Someone who is very much aligned with this approach of small, simple steps is Michael James Wong, an author, speaker, community leader, and meditation teacher. Michael is dedicated to expanding the conversation around the mind and mental health and works to open doors so that everyone feels able to take part in practices like meditation and yoga.
He joined me recently on the Face Yoga Expert Podcast to talk about the little relaxation techniques that can make such a big difference to our days. You can catch up with our full conversation here.
Inspired by my chat with Michael, I’m sharing some tips and ideas in this blog post to help you find those pockets of calm as you go about your everyday life.
Take Small Steps
In today’s world, we always seem to be in a rush. We want to get to our goals quickly – and our approach to wellness is often the same.
Something Michael stressed when we spoke was the impact of slowing right down. If we’re feeling stressed, the answer isn’t to immediately rush out to a 60-minute yoga practice or try to find time for 20 minutes of meditation in an already packed day.
Instead, we need to start with small steps. That means keeping it simple. Simplicity allows us to feel something, understand what it is telling us, and then do it again.
So, that might look like stopping for a moment when you feel stressed and stepping outside for two minutes. It might mean putting your phone down and sitting still on the sofa for a couple of minutes.
Just small, simple actions that break up the moment so that you can start to shift into calm and quietness.
Start with Awareness
Something important happens when we start to take those small moments to focus on regulating our emotions and finding a little pocket of calm. We begin to tune into our awareness of what is going on inside us.
For Michael, this is the key to wellness. Before we can take any steps to create change, we need to understand where we are right now.
Just take a moment to notice how you feel. Does your body seem tight? Are your shoulders up by your ears? Is your breath coming fast?
Often, we’re so used to living in a state of stress and chronic anxiety that we don’t realise what’s going on. Bringing this self-awareness is vital – once we know how we’re really feeling, right now in the moment, we can start to bring in tools like meditation and yoga that help us to change it.
I always say that we are our own greatest teachers. When we slow down, turn our attention inwards, and really connect with what we’re feeling in the present moment, we also connect with our innate knowledge of what we need to do to spark change.
It’s all about reminding yourself to take those moments throughout your day. Pause, listen, and be present. We have the tools within us, but awareness is the starting point to uncovering them.
Be Consistent, Not Strict
People often ask me about my morning routine. As someone who spends my life teaching people about the importance of wellness and self-care, they assume that I must dedicate my mornings to doing a full yoga and meditation practice.
The reality is that I’m a mum to two young children (my daughters are six and ten) and there’s a lot going on in our mornings! I need to be present for the girls, so trying to have a strict schedule where I focus on my wellness practices in the mornings would just add unnecessary stress to our day.
Michael is the same – a parent himself, he’s found that he needs to be flexible about when and how he fits yoga, movement, and meditation into his day.
That’s not to say that schedules can’t work for some people, but it tends to be people who have the space and time within their days to be more rigid about what they do when. For many of us, life simply doesn’t work this way.
Instead, I try to focus on what I call my three wellness non-negotiables. These are things that I make sure I do every day to support my health and happiness. Mine are yoga, face yoga, and a walk in nature. Yours will probably look different.
Some days, this might be a quick couple of minutes in child’s pose and a walk around the corner. Other days, I might spend 45 minutes on the yoga mat and go on a long walk. It varies depending on what’s going on that day, my mood, where I am in my cycle – all sorts of things.
But because I keep it flexible, I’m able to be consistent about making these habits a priority. After all, techniques like yoga or meditation are tools – they are supposed to support everything else that’s going on in our lives.
If trying to keep to a strict structure is getting in the way of you getting what you need from these techniques, let go of that structure and embrace a more flexible approach.
What Is Your Next Step?
If you’re ready to deepen into your wellness journey and really immerse yourself in face yoga, one of my core offerings is my teacher training.
I have two accredited courses – one for face yoga and one for facial gua sha, although many people do both. Both are self-study courses, so you can follow them in your own time and at your own pace. There’s a written assessment and a practical (over video call) at the end.
Whether you just want to deepen your own knowledge and practice, or are looking to teach face yoga to others, teacher training gives you a thorough grounding in everything to do with face yoga. You can find out more on the teacher training pages.
I’m reading further now about training courses.
That’s so good to hear! 🙂
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