What is it that inspires you?

I think that all good educators are valued not just for what they know, nor what they can impart to others, but for their ability to inspire – to help their students get excited about new ideas and new ways of thinking. After all, this is what will get the student through the next essay, or get them coming back to their mat, or make it easier to prioritise their studies.

Dividing my time as I do these days between university teaching and training yoga teachers, I’m aware of two growing trends: a hunger for authentic inspiration and a sense of overwhelm. To put it simply, we’re all doing a little too much, in an environment that demands our attention in a million ways.

The reality is that yet another productivity hack or supplement often isn’t going to give us what we need. What we need is space, time, and a deep well of connection to that which drives and inspires us.

What we need is a universal basic income, but that’s not what I want to talk about today. (Look it up, maybe?)

It helps if you understand something about motivation, and executive functioning, and how you can’t just will yourself into being more productive; nor does it help to berate yourself for being ‘lazy’. Laziness, it turns out, doesn’t exist. Your brain, your body, is always trying to offer you a resource, and sometimes that looks like brain fog, distraction, even rising anxiety, because you’re running the mental equivalent of a marathon on empty.

Your brain is not a computer.

I mean it.

You are a complex body-mind bundle of instincts, habits, dreams, emotions and moments of true insight. You do not process information, retrieve knowledge, or store memories. How do I know this? Partly because I read this article. Partly because it rang true. Partly because it’s been important for me to dive deep into contemporary research into neurodiversity in the past couple of years, and one of my neurodivergent heroes, Wenn Lawson, produced a study proving that interest excessively modulates attentional capacity in neurodivergent people. What does that mean in plain English? It means that making autistic people do tasks they find boring is basically torture.

I also know that there are meta studies on the usefulness of various exercise regimes for long term chronic pain that come to one, simple conclusion: the exercise that will help heal your pain is the one you enjoy doing.

I hope you find this concept helpful, in these grey February in-between days. I’d like to keep adding to your store of rest, and to your store of inspiration, without, of course, depleting my own. To that end, I have a few recommendations.

Firstly, I have been loving the newsletter ‘The Whippet’ in recent months. It describes itself as ‘a newsletter for the terminally curious’. You can support it, but it is free to sign up, here.

Secondly, it’s been ages since I recorded a yoga nidra to share. Help me out by letting me know what themes you’d like me to explore, or which tale you’d like me to adapt. I’m teaching a long weekend of nidra training soon at Yoga Reading, but I’m afraid it’s sold out. I guess you could ask about the waiting list?

Finally, for my own wellbeing, I just cancelled the upcoming ‘Teachers’ practice’ course. That’s good news, trust me. I had a moment of insight of my own and realised that I don’t want to teach practice at the moment, I want to inspire it. So together with Nourish, I’m working on a plan for a monthly reading group, where I can share some of my best inspirations over an (online) cuppa with you. Good conversation, and helpful inspiration, with good people – it feels like this is much more something that yoga teachers* might want and need right now. Get in touch if you’d like to join me?

*You won’t have to be a yoga teacher to join us. It’s the kind of thing that will suit anyone who’s terminally curious about yoga, and body-minds, and the ways we make meaning in the world. You won’t even need a mat.

Scroll to Top