So here we are, half way through January 2019. Many of you may still be sticking to your resolutions, riding the high of a new year, while some of you may have already caved in, or had a bumpy start … either way, we have a new idea for you to embrace. How about holding onto the old you and accepting exactly where you are today?
Yes, it’s always refreshing to start a new year off on the right foot. Many of us vow to let go of our nasty habits once and for all, or to revamp our lives completely with a new diet, exercise regime, work ethic, etc. But despite the changes we make, we, along with the lives we lead, will continue to be perfectly imperfect. After all, everyone knows that everything in life is impermanent. February rolls around, it is still dark and cold and our 6 a.m. workouts don’t seem as fun. Our partner dumps us for a more charismatic version of ourselves, and we long to replace our green drink with something more indulgent. Our boss throws us a new project at work and it does not quite fit into our new ‘home early’ routine.
In the yoga tradition, we cushion the blow of this reality with the idea of acceptance and non-attachment. In other words, we don’t allow the great moments to own us, nor do we let the challenging ones. We accept them all, knowing from one minute to the next, everything could change. So you can definitely take stock of what worked and what didn’t in 2018, but maybe some small shifts will have greater benefits then giving your life a complete overhaul.
In the Buddhist tradition, maitri, loving-kindness, doesn’t mean getting rid of anything to become something else. It means that we can still be crazy, angry, or jealous at times. We can still have one too many pints one day, scream at our girlfriend, mess up at work, despite the fact that we have a yoga practice. It’s not about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.
If you want yoga to be part of your 2019 plan, don’t overwhelm yourself with sabotaging thoughts like, I am not in shape enough, I am not flexible enough. Yoga is a life-long practice. There is no place to get to. The mastery of the practice comes when you simply show up, day after day, no matter what state you are in. There is a yoga mantra that says, “I am at peace as I am,” meaning on and off the mat, peace comes from simply accepting where you are today, and allowing space in your life for your perfections AND imperfections.
So go ahead, set your goals for 2019: start running, let go of a toxic person or quit a bad habit if it is important to you. But do it lovingly, without any self judgement if and when that bad day arrives, and you find yourself back to your old ways. The next day, it will be different and so might you. Approach each day, as well as yourself, with curiosity, love and acceptance and 2019 will be exactly what it should be.
This article was written for Warrior Addict by the amazing Alicia Anka.
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