Yin yoga for Monday evening exercise.

Never miss a Monday: why Monday evenings should be reserved for yin yoga

Posted by for Wellbeing

Want to get the week off to a good start? Then get comfy, light some candles and set aside an hour for a bit of yin yoga. Writer and ‘Movement Medicine’ fan Siam Goorwich explores the power of Monday evening movement.

To get fit, you should “never miss a Monday”. You need to kick off the week strong, with a weights session or hard run… even if you’re feeling knackered from the weekend. Right? Ridiculous as it might sound, for years, I’d always assumed that you had to go hard or go home on a Monday for the week to count.

I’m not alone; like so many women, it’s taken years of deconditioning for me to recognise exercise as something that makes me feel good (even if not in that immediate moment). The preparation to move is almost always a mental battle; the actual ‘doing’ of exercise can hurt, but exercise is always on my to-do list.

And because some exercise needs to get done to prevent me from feeling grey and sluggish, I’ve made Monday night workouts a regular part of my routine. In my mind, if I get it out of the way on a Monday night, then it’s not hanging over me like the sword of Damocles for the rest of the week.

But, like I said, it turns out that exercising on a Monday is far from an original thought. In fact, the hashtag #NeverMissAMonday – the rallying cry of my people, apparently – features on over 1 million Instagram posts from all corners of the world.

Having established that exercising on a Monday is A Great Idea, the next question has to be: what’s the best form of exercise to do?

If you’d have asked me this pre-pandemic, I’d have told you to hit the gym and sweat out the weekend and your (almost definitely) hectic day at work: pound out a run, lift some weights, show the week who’s boss. And sure, that’s one way to do it. But if the thought of going into the week all guns blazing fills you with dread, the good news is there’s another equally valid approach. 

I’ve been spending my Mondays doing Movement Medicine – ‘a nourishing evening class full of mindful movements and poses designed to tune into the healing intelligence of our body’. Created by performer-turned-yoga-and-pilates instructor Lela Jasmine, the hour-long class weaves together the two mat-based practices along with elements of breathwork and meditation to create something that is both deeply relaxing and spiritually exhilarating.

It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that this particular mindful practice emerged as a reaction to the challenges of the past couple of years. “The inspiration for this class was really because of the pandemic and the shift from teaching in studios to online; I really realised the importance of encouraging my students to listen to their own bodies,” Jasmine explains. 

“When you’re teaching online, I think it’s so important that you’re guiding people through a process and a journey through their own bodies; because you don’t have the privilege of being in a studio face to face – where you might be able to give them adjustments – a lot of it’s down to the students themselves to tap into how they’re feeling on that day, and how they can listen to themselves in terms of what is working for them, what feels good, and how they wish to feel in their bodies.” 

With so much chaos and instability in the world, Jasmine was determined that Movement Medicine would be an antidote. “A lot of the time in our daily routine we’re moving so fast; we have our to-do list, we have deadlines to meet, and we’re kind of running around a lot during the day. And sometimes, when we do an evening class, we just go onto our mat to move with that same energy; we’re not present, we’re just moving on autopilot.”

It’s on those occasions – when we’re lying in savasana with a racing mind – that we lose connection to our breath and what our body really needs, she says. We’ve all been there, unable to switch off in moments of quietness. And because of that, Jasmine’s class has been developed to be an antidote to that kind of manic mindlessness. 

As for offering this class on a Monday night – well, that was a no-brainer. “The beauty of practising on a Monday is that it sets the tone for the week. My vision was to encourage people to go into the rest of their week with that same mindful, intuitive energy.”

Of course, you can tap into this brilliantly mindful, slow, stretchy way of moving without subscripting to one particular class. There are plenty of restorative and yin yoga flows on YouTube, and many yoga and pilates studios offer slower sessions both in-person and online.

For me, doing a slow and stretchy class on a Monday evening acts as a circuit breaker. It’s a shot of calm in the seemingly endless storm of everyday life. Pre-pandemic, I needed a hefty dose of endorphins to start the week, but right now, after nearly two years of weathering the Covid storm, yin practice is exactly what my body, mind and soul need to keep it together for the next seven days.

Ready to start the week with a good old stretch? Join us for a 15-minute mobility class that’s guaranteed to leave you feeling ready to face whatever comes your way.

Images: Getty

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