Although I used to be quite an advocate, I’d really like new year’s resolutions to go out of fashion! I always love a project, especially if it’s focussed on my favourite topic of all — myself! And on the face of it, making intentions to improve ourselves in some way can only be a good thing.
But now that I’m trying to approach the new year more yogically the self-improvement game seems seductive but ultimately missing the point. New year’s resolutions suddenly seem to me a bit ego-driven, a bit too goal-oriented, and by definition all about the future rather than the now. None of this seems to sit well with how I try to practice my yoga.
For the coming year I’m determined not to heap on myself any measurable targets. I could easily find stuff that I want to work on in my yoga — but actually that’s the opposite of the attitude I try to cultivate through my practice. I think it’s more important simply to step onto the mat or drop my bottom down onto the cushion every day without any goal or ambition, just accepting what comes when I let go of expectations and desires and simple allow the practice to be what it is. Sure I try to explore new things in my practice (mantras and yoga nidrā recently), and there are āsanas that I am more consciously aware of than others, but I try to see this as finding ease not depth even when I’m more consciously trying to build strength (for example my side crow is very heavy, but it will feel better to me rather than look better to others when I have the core strength to pull it up rather than pushing it up with my arms).
If I were to set a new year’s resolution it’d simply be about continuing to cultivate my sādhana, to worry less about what might be, and to cultivate awareness of what is — and to try to enjoy that, whatever it might be. And if I can’t enjoy it, to try to accept it at least.
But this is more in the realm of intention, than resolution, I think. I can’t tick it off as job done, kilos lost, pounds saved, countries visited, books read… whatever. The power of the practice is in the daily resolution to experience it, not in the annual flurry of good intentions that will probably peter out by February. Yoga will always be a work in progress.
I’m happy with that.
Sorry if I’ve rained on anyone’s new year’s resolution parade!
I wish you a joyful and peaceful new year.
Om shanti. xx