Marianne Elliott

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Shall we start 2016 with some yoga?

Friday, January 1, 2016 by Marianne Elliott

It’s New Year’s morning in New Zealand.

I’ve just finished doing the dishes from our New Year’s Eve party last night. I have a little bit of a headache, caused by a combination of too much bubbly wine and too little sleep, and a sore foot, caused by a combination of too much running and too little yoga. I’m writing to you because, for the past six years, whenever I have needed to recommit to my yoga practice, and taking care of myself generally, I’ve found the inspiration, the motivation and the company I needed in this community. And I need it again now.  

Today I’m committing to start 2016 with thirty days of yoga, and I’m inviting you to join me. Read on to find out how you can do that. 

As you may know, a year ago I stopped running my online yoga program, 30 Days of Yoga. Some of you might remember this post, which I wrote about my New Year’s resolutions last year. In which I said:

So that’s where I was on 1 January this year: Pulling on my big girl panties, trusting that I could and would make this thing work without destroying my health or ruining my family’s financial future. I was looking straight down the barrel of the thing that was scaring me the most — the possibility that they had picked the wrong person for the job and that I was about to fail spectacularly to pull off one of the most innovative and ambitious social experiments I’d ever been part of — and choosing to back myself. I chose to back myself not because I was sure of myself, but despite the fact that I felt insecure, uncertain and afraid.”

So 2015 has been my year of pulling on those big girl pants, backing myself and my team despite often feeling uncertain and afraid. And we pulled it off! By the end of 2015, ActionStation was a grassroots activism force to be reckoned with, or as one political commentator put it:

ActionStation seems to be at the forefront of a lot of trends. Academically, it makes for a useful signal of where things are at, especially in terms of political activism on the ground.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, let the record state that in 2015 Marianne Elliott took care of business. But somewhere along the way, I forgot to take care of myself.

To be fair, I kept up my running, completing my first ever full marathon in November (if anyone ever tells you that running a marathon is easy, believe me, they are lying). And from time to time I would go along to a local yoga studio for a class, every time feeling my body sigh with gratitude. But I stopped practicing yoga at home. I know! I abandoned the practice which had seen me through such difficult times in Afghanistan, and which I had spent much of the previous five years sharing with others.

So I’m going to start 2016 by restarting my home yoga practice. And I’m going to do it in exactly the way I’ve encouraged more than a thousand others to do it – by starting where I am, and lowering the bar all the way down until it is impossible for me to fail. In fact, I’m going to do it by following my own 30 Days of Yoga for People Too Busy to Do Yoga. And I want you to join me.

You can join me in your own way, plotting your own path and recommitting to your own practice in whatever way works for you.

Or, if, like me, you’ve been struggling to make the time for your practice, you might want to join me in using 30 Days of Yoga for People Too Busy to Do Yoga as your guide. I don’t run the full program any more, and won’t be any time soon. But you can get all the course materials (including an eBook of the daily lessons and downloadable videos and audio guides) as an instant download for only $29.

I created this program to prove that you are never too busy for yoga, that yoga will come and meet you exactly where you are: even if that’s in Overwhelm. And that’s exactly what I need right now. 

So I chose yoga practices you can do anywhere at all, practices you can do at your computer and short, simple sequences of poses you can do in the morning and evening. The practices are short. That’s part of the secret. But there’s more to it than that.

The other part of the equation is kindness. Because the real reason I haven’t been getting on my yoga mat is less about time, and more about avoiding being alone with my own feelings of failure, as a yogi, and as a spiritual activist.

When we judge ourselves harshly for our perceived failure to do something like practice yoga, the cruel fact is that we are just making it harder to  keep ourselves motivated. Kindness, on the other hand is very motivating. So it’s time for me to go back to the basics of my own courses – reminding myself to be kind.

I’ll be kicking off on my personal journey back into a home practice of yoga today.

If you want to join me you can download the materials by clicking here. Or if busy-ness is not your curse (bravo!) you’d might prefer the Beginners version, or the Standard version (which includes a full length yoga practice) they are both also available in an instant download version.

Or follow along with your own practice!

I won’t be posting about my 30 days of yoga on my blog, mostly because I’m leaving for a holiday in East Africa on Monday (I know!!!!!!) but when I can get onto wifi, I’ll post about it on Instagram, so if you are practicing along with me, please tag me (zenpeacekeeper) and use the #30dayyoga hashtag and we can share the love!

However you choose to start 2016, I wish you all good things.

Loves of love,


On listening to Mary Oliver in the morning

Monday, November 30, 2015 by Marianne Elliott

There was a small blue and grey backpack hanging in a tree on Hornsey Rd. It’s zip hanging open, as though it had something to say. I noticed it, perhaps, because I’d been listening to you this morning, because you remind me to notice, to trust that noticing is worth my time and my attention. […]

Do you love a good story? This is for you.

Saturday, October 3, 2015 by Marianne Elliott

I’ve become someone who secretly looks forward to travel delays. If I get stuck on a train for an unexpected hour, no sweat. If my flight is delayed by a few hours, or I can’t find a good connection so I have to spend half a day in an airport in the middle of who-knows-where, […]

A story of change, Part IV

Saturday, September 26, 2015 by Marianne Elliott

This is the fourth and final part of a the story I told at the Extraordinary Tales event recently. You can read the first part here, the second part here, and the third part here. After Afghanistan, I came home again. Home to Wellington, where I wrote a book about my experiences in Afghanistan, opened a restaurant […]

A story of change, Part III

Friday, September 25, 2015 by Marianne Elliott

This is the third part of a the story I told at the Extraordinary Tales event recently. You can read the first part here and the second part here. After five years at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission – with a new foundation of family and friendship to keep my feet on the ground, and bind […]

A story of change, Part II

Thursday, September 24, 2015 by Marianne Elliott

This is the second part of a the story I told at the Extraordinary Tales event recently. You can read the first part here. So – as Kim Hill put it – I walked off my divorce in Africa – what next? The walk ended in Jerusalem, where I stayed in a hostel run by […]

A story of change, Part I

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 by Marianne Elliott

Recently I was invited to tell a story at this extraordinary event. This is the first part of that story. More to come in the next few days.  What I wanted to tell you today was the story of how change happens. Because it’s the story I’m obsessed with. Because it’s a big important story. And because […]

Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff…

Sunday, September 13, 2015 by Marianne Elliott

Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us […]

Where you can find me in the next few months…

Monday, August 10, 2015 by Marianne Elliott

After a year of focusing pretty much exclusively on ActionStation, I have a few teaching and presenting events coming up: Muse Camp 2015 – August 21st-23rd, Bend OR Yoga in Action: Off the Mat, Sept-Oct, Wellington, NZ Game Changers: Yoga Journal Live Event, 27 Sept-1 Oct, Colorado Muse Camp 2015 August 21st-23rd, Bend OR Muse […]

What I’ve been learning, reading & writing

Sunday, August 9, 2015 by Marianne Elliott

It’s been a long time since I wrote here. Not because I haven’t had anything to say, but because I’ve been utterly consumed by the work of launching, nurturing and getting ActionStation through something known in the start-up world as the ‘Valley of Death’. Over the past month I really feel that we’ve emerged from that […]

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