“Change only happens in the present moment. The past is already done.
The future is just energy and intention.” ― Kino MacGregor
Understanding our habits and the functioning of our brain
According to some psychologists, 95% of our daily actions are habitual. This means that most of our actions happen automatically. Like getting up in the morning, brushing your teeth, driving your car, these are all things we do every day without even thinking about it. Remember that we live in a distracting world and our brain has a natural tendency to go into automatic pilot. This is when our subconscious drives our behavior, and we are less active in the process of making choices about how we act. The great news is that our yoga practice brings us a greater awareness of these driving forces and creates space for us to begin changing them, because of the amazing nature of the neuroplasticity of our brain, it's possible for us to create new behavior. It does take a little effort but every action in the right direction will bring us a reward.
Practically, how can we support ourselves to create new healthy habits?
Write down our intentions. What asana, sequence or pranayama would you like to practice? It might even be learning a new Sanskrit word for a particular posture, or going over one of the very first techniques you practiced, like the Windmill Breath. You could try writing out and sticking a post-it note on your mirror, or door. This helps to keep us focused on our intentions and the more we keep them in mind the more likely we are to actually act on them!
Bringing a sense of curiosity into our practice by making it interesting and fresh each time, creates dopamine in our brain. Which is great because this type of neurotransmitter in our brain contributes to our capacity to experience pleasure, satisfaction, and reward. Remember as well to observe the type of thoughts that arise, when you practice something new or with a begginer's mind, imaging it's for the first time. Then record it, journal it, and share it with someone else if there is anything you are curious to explore in more depth, in the company of a kind friend or mentor.
Make your practice easy and accessible. A great way to encourage yourself to practice is to make it as easy and as accessible as possible. You can do this by keeping a yoga mat out or even just a yoga block/band to one side. Having the right equipment handy will increase the likelihood of actually practicing!
Why not keep your favorite yoga book out? This will remind you that yoga isn’t all about physical movement and don't forget, there are so many yoga philosophy stories in your Dru Yoga manual that you can revisit at any time. No matter if you’re training or already a teacher, re-visiting this wisdom at the right time can be really helpful.
Take some time to enjoy reading a verse from a yogic or inspirational text, like the Bhagavad Gita for example, or any other book or scripture that inspires a deeper part of you. It can be really very enriching for the mind, heart, and soul to ask ourselves some of the deeper questions about life, that arise from absorbing wisdom and truth. Add to this a journaling practice to explore our response to some of the wisdom we’ve read, and we are likely to gain a lot of insight into who we are and our purpose in this life.
Don’t forget that relaxation does count as yoga practice. If you're having one of those weeks or even months where you don’t have time for any practice it may be that you need to relax first to create some space in your mind - to even consider practicing a sequence of asana and even a short Savasana can do just this!
So, in conclusion, we really do hope you feel inspired to explore ways to create new habits that can make a real difference - in leading you to a truly rewarding yoga practice. Remember too that we are unique individuals with different driving forces, yet when we bring an intention of creating joy, calm, and peace to our practice the outcome will inevitably bring us fulfillment!
With love from the Dru Midlands Team.
Ps. Why not share and celebrate the stages of your yoga journey, with us? By emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org and watch out for next month's feature entitled The Power of Self-Compassion to fuel a Genuinely Awesome Yoga Practice.