"Going to make a change
for once in my life
gonna feel real good
gonna make a difference, gonna make it right."
-Michael Jackson, Man in the Mirror
Sometimes when I teach yoga, students will say to me, “Oh, I can't do that.”
“Well how often have you tried,” I ask?
“Once,” is usually the reply.
How often do we have to do something to make a change? If we look at the spiritual habits of the lamas in the Buddhist tradition who prostrate to the earth, we will see the indentations in the rock where their hands and knees have been touching over years and years and years. Big changes happen slowly. The practice of yoga or any spiritual seeking, losing weight, or giving something up should be a slow and steady practice. You can't expect to be able to do that challenging pose on the first go, but here is where the practice of change starts. If you really want to change some aspect of yourself, here are the steps you should take.
1. Make a commitment to whatever it is and set your intention. Be very clear about what your intention is and what the outcome should be. For example, if you wanted to lose weight the intention could be something like this: “I am going to lose weight so I can feel stronger and fitter in my body and with this new found strength I will be able to serve my family and those closer to me in a better way.”
2. Decide on the technique. The difference between a tourist and a resident is the level of clarity involved. Get clear about how you are going to create this change. Example: “Each day I will meditate using a guided meditation from My Yoga Online. I will practice for five minutes in the morning and the evening.”
3. Find a teacher or guide. This is an important step. This person will be your power when you lose yours. They will guide you when or if you become discouraged. Tell them what it is you want to achieve.
4. Beware of the cloud of doubt. It will come in the form of a puff of smoke or a big black ugly cloud destined to rain right on your parade. This is when the practice begins. When you want it to stop, say to yourself: “It’s just one more day, I can do this.” Write a personal mantra to use when the storm comes.
5. Be compassionate and patient with yourself. Change will come slowly but it will come. If you slip, watch out for the “I might as well,” talk. This common line is an invitation to slip deeper back into the rut you are trying to escape. It goes like this: “I just ate some chocolate, what a failure, I might as well finish the block now.”
Good luck with your journey, be kind to yourself and remember the seeds for change are in all of us just waiting patiently for us to water them.
Gabrielle Harris is the original suburban yogini of New Zealand. In between hot sweaty vinyasas she likes to go back to the suburbs and write about what she learned while cooking dinner, running a business, and growing vegetables. Yoga is the little box of sanity that she likes to unwrap at frequent intervals to keep the wheels of domestic bliss turning smoothly. An avid yoga practitioner, her latest project is 365 Moons, a simple yoga practice for everyday living.
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