Today I am writing about New Years Resolutions, and how yoga practice supports the growth you want…
There is a tradition here about setting New Years resolutions, and a trend of people not even bothering because: who keeps them anyhow? People have made enough broken promises to themselves, why make one more?
Because we know there is an opportunity for growth for us, and to affect that change it’s going to take some dedication and determination. As humans we are creatures of habit, and most everything we do is habitual. Our morning routine, the way we tie our shoes how, many times we chew before we swallow, how often we check email or facebook, whether we walk on the inside or outside of our feet… the list goes on forever.
The habits we have create our reality. The habits we have point our lives in a direction that determines an almost certain future. If looking at that future feels good to you, then fantastic! On your jolly way. If looking at that future has some room for improvement, it’s time for a course correction, and the thing about course corrections is: the sooner you make one, the smaller the change you need to get to your desired destination.
To grow in the way we want to grow, we can create a habit that points us in that direction.
MAKING IT WORK
So you have a vision for a positive future, a habit pattern from the past, and here you are, always in the ever changing present, with a choice between going to the past or the future.
Put your attention on the now. The present is where you can make decisions. Leaving your decisions in the past is habit. Making decisions in the future is procrastination.
Making decisions in the present is power. Sieze your power.
FACING THE HURDLES:
Following through on these changes takes determination, like running hurdles. In the hurdle races there is an end goal, and a number of obstacles. Missing a hurdle hurts and will slow you down, but does not disqualify you, nor do you lose style points. The worst thing you can do is look back at the missed hurdle and regret missing it. That almost guarantees you’ll smash right into the next one. Look forward for the next one and do your best to clear it, keep running, looking forward. The natural consequences of missing the last hurdle was penalty enough.
This is the subtler habit to shift to enable the bigger changes.
INTEGRITY: RECOMMIT, RENEGOTIATE, AND/OR CONSEQUENCES
The problem people face with these changes is when they miss one commitment they tailspin out. They feel they’ve broken their integrity and don’t want to proceed out of integrity.
There are three basic ways to restore integrity:
Normally the natural consequences of missing a commitment are enough, but sometimes adding a consequence that one can complete quickly – as running out of time for the commitment is often the cause, and we don’t want the excuse for the integrity commitment. Something like a cold shower, a donation to a cause, or publicly confessing on facebook can serve. This works because the commitment was to either complete the task OR do the commitment. If either is done we are in integrity
Okay, so we’ve missed something. Do we still want to do it the same way? “90 minutes of yoga six days a week? Yes! I still want that! I feel the consequence of missing that and I recommit to that moving forward.”
Sometimes we realize we’ve overcommitted and need to renegotiate. “I was overzealous. I think what would actually serve me is 15 minutes 3 days a week and 90 minute practices 2 days a week. I can keep that one for a week and see how it goes”
Yoga is the practice of getting present. In the hatha form that I teach and practice, we move into our bodies, which are always and only ever in the present. We face the places where we habitually store tensions, and instead of taking that as a permanent reality, we make choices around how to deal with them.
Patanjali (author of the yoga sutras ~0AD) said one of the forms of ignorance is misidentifying the temporary as permanent. You were not born with your habits, you will not die with your habits, they are temporary visitors. Acknowledge them as such, and let them go if they do not serve you.
To leverage yoga to help your life, make use of “Sankalpa” (intention setting). Take a moment at the beginning of each practice to get quiet and remember the changes you are looking to make. Get a sense of the kind of person who would make that changes. Allow yourself to be more like that person.
When in the flow of your practice, you’ll want to add in some warrior poses, and set a timer for 2 or more minutes – increasing over time – noticing when you want to leave the pose, but staying in your commitment unless you feel like there would be tissue damage. Feel the power as your strength sustains you well beyond what you thought you’d be comfortable doing, guiding you towards the fullness of your capacity, and reminding you of the quality of persistence you have that you can achieve what you set out to do.
If you need support in changing your life and habits, talk to me, that’s how I help.
I’m giving away five free consultations to people who haven’t tried a private yoga session with me, where we’ll create a customized practice to embody the change you are cultivating, NOW. You will feel like the person who will stay focused on their growth… every day.
For those who are not in the first five, my new client special of $70 has been reduced to $60 for the month of January.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your spot!
The steps to take to shift a habit