Yoga New Year’s resolution?
When we make a yoga New Year’s resolution, it can be a bit of a trap. Often we overcommit and end up setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment. Furthermore, yoga can get wrapped up unhelpfully with fitness, weight-loss, and other assorted wellness goals and become a bit diluted or confused. Of course it’s not a bad thing or effort to begin a new year saying you want to do a shit-load more of yoga or finally get up in your handstand, but rather than a yoga new year’s resolution that becomes too much about external and arbitrary goals, can you get back to the basics and remember why you love the practice and what it offers you?
Re-commit to your yoga practice
I’d like to make one grand suggestion: get on your mat (literally or figuratively) every day.
Meaning: make some time, if even a moment, to take care of yourself, connect to your breath and body, and connect to the present.
Make this part of the default arrangement of your day. Let it be sacrosanct. Don’t worry about what it is, or how impressive it may be to a yoga paparazzi. Just do it. Move. Breathe. Meditate. Sit. Lie down. Just do it!
This can be the transformative experience, rather than a lot of stamps on your class card.
Remember why it feels good
Do you remember why you practice? Why did you go to that first class? Why do you keep it up? Most of us stay connected to the practice by means of the poses and movements that make us feel our best and live our best life. Often, what encourages this is what is simplest. Notice what makes you feel good and do that. And, importantly, remember that what makes you feel good may not actually feel good while you’re doing it. It may be hard or sweaty or frustrating – but does it make you feel better after? It should not however be a chore to get in your daily practice, although it does take a bit of discipline. Seek a bit of pleasure in it when times get tough. If what makes you feel best is hard (sitting still is hard for me, but it’s what I need), give yourself a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. Do the hard stuff with the easy and pleasurable stuff. Be kind.
Keep yourself interested
If you find discipline lagging and need some external goals, don’t feel like you are a bad yogi because you want to do a hard pose, simply re-think the goal as a means of keeping yourself focused on and committed to your practice. Maybe now is the time to decide that handstands are a good focus for the next couple of months – not because you’ll get a prize if you do one, but because it gives you something to do and work with on the mat every day. Let challenge poses be idea generators to keep you engaged with the practice.
Try this quick questionnaire to re-focus and re-commit to yoga this year. (Printable version here for you to work on). Let your answers be practical, reasonable, and achievable.
- Why do you practice?
- When can you commit time everyday for yourself and your yoga practice?
- What type of practice makes you feel your best?
- What challenges will keep you interested?
Think through the above, and then act on it.
Let me know if you need help staying committed, and check out more practice tips here.