Is there more to life than yoga classes? Often not in my life, for when I’m not teaching yoga I am often attending classes, or studying or enjoying my own yoga practice. However I am aware that expanding my life and exploring things that take me out of my comfort zone is one of the things that keeps me so happy.

Before teaching my Stockton Heath yoga class in Warrington last night I had an interesting conversation with a friend about the people who ‘do stuff’ and those that don’t!! By this we were discussing the way some people seem to live their lives for the weekend, almost wishing away their week on a job that doesn’t inspire them and often losing their evenings sitting on the sofa watching TV.

If you’ve read my other blog entries I’m sure you are aware of my view of television…that it tends to absorb time and energy far beyond it’s worth! To spend time watching a film or a particular programme is one thing, but the wasted hours merely channel surfing seem pointless to me. Admittedly before I decided to live without television I was as guilty as anybody of sitting to watch one programme, and then just flicking over and then realizing that my time had seemingly evaporated without achieving anything. Nowadays I seem to get so much done and be more energised in general. I am happier without being aware of the latest news, fashions or reality TV fad. It also surprises me how much less I am prone to consumerism without the constant advertisements promoting and selling. We may feel that we are aware of their methods but it is notable how much less you want when you reduce your contact time with constant marketing in magazines and TV.

Anyway, back to today’s idea. That we should all do something that excites or scares us every day. Just enough to slightly raise your heart rate and take you out of your comfort zone. I don’t mean driving excessively fast or doing a risky sport but just avoiding the mundanity of a life without interesting activity. Even making a phone call we have been avoiding (I’m sure we’ve all got them!!), facing the pile of paperwork or just wearing more colourful clothes or a different style can change how we feel. Basically just getting out of our comfort zone!

Research has implied that relationships are strengthened when couples do extreme sports or adrenalin inducing activity together. I also know from personal experience how much better I feel when I push myself further than I am comfortable with or learn something new. I may enjoy curling up with a good book and there is necessity for relaxation and quiet time. However in today’s world we don’t seem to promote the need to have some excitement as well as enjoying some real relaxation. In recent years I am pushing myself to learn more skills and  exploring new hobbies such as climbing or learning to drum. It seems the more I enjoy both the relaxation and also the physical and mental focus required in my yoga practice, the more I want to find this in my everyday life too. The thought of spending time just vegetating in front of a television with no mental, spiritual or physical benefits makes me sad…I wish I could persuade more people to do more; go for a walk, see friends you haven’t seen for a while, phone an elderly relation. Get out of your comfort zone and get some smug satisfaction in doing those things you’ve been procrastinating over; the phone calls and paperwork we all have on our to-do list. Then you may find, as I did, that you find the inner strength to want to challenge yourself more mentally or physically; there are many evening courses, areas of study or interest, sports and fun activities with which to fill those hours you may otherwise spend watching fictional lives being acted out on television.

We are given an opportunity to live our lives so we should take advantage of this. A mind or body that is stretched to new places usually feels better for the experience. I would challenge anyone to give up their television for 3 months and tell me that their life is less for the experience!!

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