The holiday season has transitioned into the New Year and now many of us are knee deep in the early stages of working to accomplish our 2017 resolutions. During this initial, energy filled stage of pursuing our goals, we must take steps to ensure that, when the excitement and possibility of our resolutions starts to give way to the grind of hard work and commitment, we have set ourselves up for success.
How do you set yourself up for success? Well, as it relates to your yoga practice and likely many other facets of your life, here are some thoughts:
Set Realistic, Attainable Goals
Set your sights high and your goals about ankle height! If you’re going to resolve yourself to do something, it really should be something worth doing, a goal that if accomplished will catapult you into a new understanding of your capability. That being said, a lot of us trip ourselves up by aiming for the stars and then trying to get there in only one or two steps – a practice that can ultimately be defeating.
In 2017, make sure you write out your long term goal – something like, “get through an entire 60-minute vinyasa yoga class using my Ujjayi Pranayama” or “hold a handstand for 5 breath cycles,” then break it down into smaller pieces. For example, getting through an entire 60-minute class with your Ujjayi Pranayama set has to start somewhere. Begin by aiming for an entire round of Sun Salutation A, then work to add the B series, and keep building from there!
Also, keep in mind that stumbling on one of the smaller pieces does not equate to failure or mean you can’t or won’t accomplish your long term vision. Every step forward is a win!
Don’t Force Your Practice
Just as you shouldn’t force yourself into any particular pose, the same applies to your overarching practice. Remember that your practice is a lifelong journey. It often moves slowly, and it’s not abnormal to stray from the path that you’ve laid out for yourself.
Your yoga practice isn’t a straight line, so don’t force yourself to do anything that you don’t feel prepared to take on.
“The path of development is a journey of discovery that is clear only in retrospect, and it’s rarely a straight line.” – Eileen Kennedy Moore
Whether you started a few weeks ago or have been practicing for years, think back to why you began practicing yoga. Being mindful of the reasons why you started as well as the accomplishments and goals you have already achieved will help you stay positive through the new year.