When I’m planning a class I like to think about what yoga means to me and how I have used its wisdom to make decisions or move forward I my life. I’ve made some big changes recently and with the start of a new year and the desire to change seems to be all around me. I constantly hear resolutions to make changes from my students, friends and loved ones: lose weight, get fit, be less stressed, be more organised, get a new job!
But changes are scary. They often involve letting go of things, perhaps food you love or comfortable habits, unhealthy relationships, in my case a stable income and familiarity. Changes involve inviting in the unknown, opening up to new possibilities and having no idea where they might lead.
This time of year is full of positive energy and the possibilities for change seem all around us, but it got me thinking about why this happens every year at this time and how we seem to come back around to each January with the same goals and desires for the year as we had the year before, without having been able to stick to these goals or make any lasting changes. Maybe it’s just safer to stay where we are.
Is it fear that holds us back? How can we maintain our intentions and resolutions and keep moving forwards into the unknown?
Think about it, have you been asked recently what your new year’s resolutions are? Have you asked others? It’s a great feeling to think we are all in this together, all working towards a healthier, more positive state, it’s great to have support to take these risks, to know others are in the same boat. And also to know that, like us, others will slip up and make mistakes. But that’s ok because we are all in this together and we all know how hard it is to stick to our goals. The fear of failure is lessened because we will share the experience with others. So maybe we need that. A place where we can take risks, try and fail, try again and know that others are with us, sharing the experience.
Something I’ve always loved about yoga class is that feeling that we are all in it together, whether its sitting quietly together in meditation or sweating and shaking as you take that 30th vinyasa, it’s a collective experience and it involves trust. Trust that it will be ok if you fall, ok if you nod off, if you need to take child’s pose instead of down dog because we are all striving for change together.
We all want the same things, health, happiness, love. And yoga allows us the space to reconnect with our true selves, our hearts desires and our resolve to live the best way we can. Every time we come to the mat, we are reminding ourselves of the intentions for change we have, but we are also supporting others in their intentions.
We can all make changes big or small, eat less junk food, exercise more, be kinder, change jobs, let go of unhealthy relationships, but to face the fear of the unknown we need support to take risks, try new things, push our boundaries.
So this week in class don’t be afraid of the unknown, if you come up against new postures that seem unobtainable for you, know that you are not the only one, if this is new to you and it’s scary remember that we are all in this together and if we are brave and face our fears who know what where it might lead us both on the mat and off.