Actually, we are about half-way through.
How are you doing with those New Year’s Resolutions? Not meaning to nag or anything, but this is just about that time where we are either congratulating ourselves on a job well-done, or kicking ourselves for not having more “stick-with-it-ness.”
So, first off, isn’t nice to know you are not alone in this. Almost all of us set some sort of new intention at the beginning of the year. Some intentions are easy to maintain, others, not so. As we set those intentions we are envisioning a future where we are no longer plagued by this habit or that habit, or we see ourselves having mastered some amazing new accomplishment or skill. Then, after a couple of weeks, the thrill of the challenge has worn off. Now it just seems like just so much hard work. How do we stay present with our intentions? As we work towards fulfilling them, where do we find the support for our resolutions?
Where? Well, why don’t we look to our yoga sages. Way back when, Patanjali (~400 CE) suggested that our practice should be Sthira sukham asanam. (Patanjali Sutra, II.46). In other-words, the posture/practice should be steady and sweet. On our mats we learn about developing a steady (sthira) practice, and a sweet (sukham) practice. We learn not to push ourselves so hard we collapse in a puddle (puddle-of-go-asana) or pull muscles (strain-asana). We also learn that we must put in the appropriate amount of effort so that we can actually hold ourselves in the posture, but gently. Too little effort and we won’t get there, too much and we burn out. We know it can be hard, and if we only focus on the hard (dukha), it is very difficult to maintain the steady (sthira) practice. So, as we do on the mat, so to can we do with our New Years’ Intentions. Honor the sweetness, the daily, moment by moment successes, stay steady, and resist focusing on what is not working. In this manner, our intentions will become manifest. Stira Sukham Asanam is a mantra not just for your mat, but for living your life.
Was one of your intentions to start or deepen your meditation practice?
Last month I gave you that handy-dandy illustrated guide to meditation. This month I have a little video for you. This one is on the scientific benefits of meditation. I’m so glad this came across my desk when it did, as I was just in the middle of writing a review of the recent research on meditation. Now I can just encourage you to watch this short video.
On a different note, I’m off to Hawaii on Friday for 10 days of sun, surf, hiking, and relaxing. Mark and I have even included a side trip to Oahu for some yoga and music at Wanderlust. I have arranged subs for all my classes, they are pretty amazing, so take this opportunity to experience their unique teaching gifts.
Shalom & Namaste