Coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, many are considering how different their lives could be or are. There has been much talk of what will be the new normal. The issue of change, and its sustainability, is the core subject of Good Change, a program run by Becs Erickson, of Gisborne, New Zealand. Good Change comes from the Japanese “Kaizen”, which means change for better, large or small, continuous or otherwise. It is similar to the English word “improvement”. Erickson embodies a philosophy of small, incremental changes in her Ayurveda health coaching program, encouraging one per cent shifts. Group meetings are held weekly online. Calls are recorded so can be accessed if a participant misses a week. The program has been running for almost two years.
Ayurveda translates to “knowledge of life”. It is an ancient health care tradition originating from and practiced in India. It is based on the belief that health depends on a delicate balance between the mind, body and spirit. Ayurveda focuses on good health, prevention and treatment through lifestyle practices, such as yoga, meditation, dietary changes, massage and herbal remedies.
Good Change explores ten habits, or self-care practices, which combine Ayurveda with behavioural science. Becs Erickson maintains that it is important to address the emotional side of issues to make “changes that stick. This starts to evolve who you are and what you do.” The program covers one habit per week over a twelve week period. There are three twelve week periods of the program that run each year, mirroring the three seasons in Ayurveda philosophy. These three Ayurveda seasons reflect the three Doshas in Ayurveda philosophy. Understanding the seasons can help with health problems you have during that time. Newbies are able to enrol in a twelve week taster of the program.
These self-care practices include starting the day right, breath and body practices, a plant-based diet (which Erickson maintains does not mean going vegetarian or vegan necessarily but is more about changing your relationship to plants), self-massage, sitting in silence, healthy eating which addresses digestion, sense organ care and easeful living. The program focuses on incorporating these habits into daily life gradually, bringing in “more of the Feminine, being in tune with Nature and your Circadian rhythm and helps people reconnect with their bodies.”
Erickson emphasises that her program is self-empowering, helping people realise that they do not have to look to others to heal them. “We’ve lost the ability to trust ourselves and listen to our intuition,” she declares. She finds that the momentum of working in a group in the program seems to accelerate change for participants. Currently there is a range of ages from 30-70 in the group, with all female participants. Men are also welcome. Who signs up for the program? Erickson describes participants as often being “working mums and older women whose kids have left home and have time to work on themselves.”
Becs Erickson is passionate about and has been teaching yoga since 2007. She said she has always had an interest in Eastern philosophies. When her daughter was born in 2009, her health “went from bad to worse.” She went along a Western medicine route, was diagnosed with auto-immune issues and was told she would need medication. Wanting to explore alternatives, she began seeing an Indian Ayurvedic doctor in Auckland, who Erickson maintains was “very traditional”. He guided her back to health. This spurred her on to study Ayurveda health coaching for two years with a U.S. organisation, so that she could teach others herself. She enjoyed the way her Ayurveda health coach teacher, Kate, brought a more contemporary feel to Ayurveda.
As she has started up and developed a health coaching business, Becs has also retained a part time paid job working for a non-profit organisation, dealing with the well-being of children. She works in marketing and trusts portfolios for the organisation. Over time, she has slowly reduced this work to make space for her growing health coaching business. At times, like many others, this has been a huge juggling act, when Becs has had to recall and draw down on the words of her teacher, Kate, that “the heavier your load, the deeper you go with the habits.”
As if running a health coaching business, a part time job and being a mum were not enough, Becs also runs three meditation courses a year and teaches yoga in Gisborne weekly on Fridays. Erickson relaxes by spending time with friends and family, being outdoors, doing yoga and cooking. As Good Change develops, Erickson is opening up the program to like-minded people from outside the region. She is driven by a vision to make Ayurveda teachings available and accessible to all. If you are interested in learning more about Becs Erickson’s work, you can explore further via the social media and other contact information below.