Our Habitual Bodies

It’s the New Year! And it’s often a time of New Year’s Resolutions and wondering whether we are where we want to be and who we need to be.

But then, more often than not, we set our aims too high and our enthusiasm and will-power too low and after a couple of weeks we settle back into the comfortable habitual patterns we have always been in.

Yoga offers us a refreshing alternative to the Western traditional New Year’s Resolution. The yoga tradition of Sankalpa starts with the premise that you already are who you need to be. Often New Year’s Resolutions are too focused on what we perceive is wrong or missing in our lives. A yoga Sankalpa is a short, concise, positive statement, written in the present tense, that aims to bring to the front of our lives a change we are looking for. A Sankalpa can be a statement that reflects your true inner nature or a specific goal or intention.

This term I will be inviting you to hold a Sankalpa in your mind during your yoga practice and during our relaxation at the end of class, with the aim that this positive statement will plant a little seed in your mind, that with time (and a little bit of yoga!) will hopefully start to grow into something bigger.

Alongside the idea of Sankalpa, we will be concentrating on physical habits we unconsciously hold in our bodies. Whether you have been coming to yoga for a long time, or just inhabiting your body for a long time, we all have habitual ways of moving and holding ourselves that we often don’t even realise we are doing.

” Life becomes a pattern. Our happiness becomes a pattern. If something suits that pattern we are happy, if it doesn’t suit we are unhappy, and this way sometimes we become a total slave of a habit. That is why they say man is a slave to his habits and as the years go by, his habits become his comforts. “ Yogi Bhajan Lecture: Living as a Slave to Habit Patterns 1970

This term we will be using postures and breathing to challenge our habitual patterns, to make our brains engage a little more so we aren’t just moving without thinking, without being present, and we will also be moving back into the more familiar to enable us to become more aware of our habits and our comfort zones.

Finally I leave you with a little story from Dr. Wayne Dyer entitled:

The Sidewalk of Life

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost …. I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit … but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5
I walk down another street.