What I love about the New Year is that it’s filled with so much possibility. What I love about the end of the year is the beautiful opportunity to reflect on what went right over the past 365 days and what I can do better in the New Year. I like to get really clear about what I want and put it on paper to make it more real and more achievable.
As a yoga teacher the New Year is one of the busiest times for me. Classes are full and everyone is anxious to make good on their resolutions. Twelve months later in December, only the diehards remain.
So what happens to our New Year’s resolutions between January and December? How can we make them stick?
I’ve spent a lot of time studying how to build good habits and systems and goal setting to help students stick to practice. Here are some ideas for you to improve your practice this year:
It's hard to believe the summer solstice is upon us. We’re also getting to the point in the season when all the changes in our routines are starting to settle in. Among countless other things, kids are out of school, summer trips are planned, and the sun is in the sky well into the evening. Which is just to say that our day-to-day lives and routines all get kind of out of whack in the summertime. But the quality of our lives (and the quality of our practices!) is deeply tied to our routines, and these changes can present unique challenges to our yoga journeys.
With good habits anything is possible. I often tell students that all they have to do for a good practice is unroll their mats and stand in samasthihi. That counts. If more happens? Awesome. If not? You’re still in the routine of your practice, and that is one of the very most important things. Having good habits isn’t about being perfect at those habits - it’s about letting yourself sacrifice your old...
I’ve had a lot of students come and go in the six years that I have been teaching a daily Mysore program. This can be for a variety of reasons: schedules change, people have babies, jobs relocate. But the truth is, a lot of people never really stick to the practice, or the practice doesn’t stick to them. What I have noticed over the years is that those who make practice a habit are the ones who practice for the long haul.
Our habits shape us and they play a central role in any successful long-term discipline. Once practice is a habit, it is no longer something that we have to think about. You wake up, you brush your teeth, you practice yoga. Boom—it’s done.
But getting to the point where practice is a habit is difficult. We’ve all felt it—showing up is the hardest part. Our minds play tricks on us. They have all sorts of sneaky reasons to try to prevent us from practicing, because the mind knows that with practice, its thought patterns...