Habits on & off the Yoga Mat

What can you give up?  What is no longer serving your practice or your life?  We all have habits that become a part of our daily lives.  Do your habits serve you?  Do you need to let go of something?  Your yoga practice can help you find these answers and more.

Set a long or short term intention.  My goal for 2014 was to break down the wall I have built around my heart.  I  began to notice that the practice of holding people away was keeping me from the pursuit of meaningful friendships.  I set out to change it.  

I suggest that you start out by finding the answers in your practice.  I have the tendency to round my spine and guard my heart physically.  Maybe this is your pattern, or you may begin to notice a different pattern in your physical body or breath.  Be careful to take note of these habits without judgement.  

Consider the orgin of such habits in order to work with them.  I have a very conservative background.  As a small child, I was taught that human nature without god is dark, and that we must protect ourselves with a spiritual armor.  I built an energetic fortress to guard against such problems.  I am learning to feel the subtle changes that occur when I let go of my armor.

Make changes to the habits that no longer suit you.  You didn't build these habits overnight, and they won't break down quickly.  11 months into my endeavour, I discovered that I'm still doing the back pat thing when I give someone a hug.  I also tend to move to their right, thus keeping our hearts at the furthest distance.  The simple act of pausing and sharing an honest moment with a friend or loved one was being lost on me!  I'm still practicing.   

Celebrate your victories.  Maybe you notice a change in your practice on the mat, and maybe you see a change in your daily life.  Concentrate on your progress rather than your setbacks.

Our yoga practice can be a window to our daily life.  Our tendencies in our practice often reflect our lives off the mat.  A competitive nature, guarded posture, tendency to shy away from certain poses, or breath patterns can be the window to our souls.  All we have to do is open the blinds... 

Namaste - Beth