It seems that everyone I talk to is in the throws of making long lists of New Year's Resolutions. It is important to pause at key moments in our lives so we can get clear on where we want to go. However, most of the time we end up setting goals that are not within our power to keep. This sets into action what the Buddhists would call the "attachment/aversion" cycle. We become proud of ourselves when we achieve the goal, or conversely we get angry at ourselves when we don't.
The problem is, we are setting the wrong goals! When it comes to a yoga practice, creating physical asana goals can be dangerous on the psyche. For instance, if I say to myself something like "this year I will balance in a handstand in the middle of the room", I am setting myself up for the attachment/aversion cycle. If I fail in my goal, I can loose confidence and get down on myself. If I achieve my goal, I might start thinking that I'm cool. This is a false confidence, as the moment I loose my ability to perform the pose, I am right back where I started.
Instead, this year try tricking yourself. Set goals that you can keep. Goals that you and you only will know if you achieved. Goals that bring you back to your own true nature. For instance, try something like "I will breathe fully in every pose I'm in." Or, "I will relax wherever possible, even in the challenging postures." Better yet, "I will listen to what my body wants me to do, rather than me telling it what to do."
These are goals that we have a shot at keeping. When it comes to yoga and life, let's let go of the list. None of us knows what is around the corner. At the end of the day, we have very little control over what actually occurs. What we can do, is choose how we react to life when it comes. For 2011, set a resolution of what kind of yogi you will BE. "No matter what gets done or doesn't get done - who will I BE in this year to come?"
However it unfolds, I wish you peace, passion and abundance. Happy New Year!
Posted on Mon, February 6, 2012
by Sara Ivanhoe