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New Year Resolutions?!

I’m sitting here contemplating new year resolutions… and I’ve just read that at least 80% of resolutions remain unachieved! So is there any point to making them and how can yoga help you be the 1 in 5 that does achieve what you actually set out to achieve?

At this point, I must confess that I am not usually big on goal setting and resolutions, however earlier this year I had something very definite that I wanted to achieve and set about using my yoga practise to make sure this happened. I’ll tell you more about that later but first I just want to share with you a little bit of yogic philosophy.

Yoga is a fantastic way of helping you to focus and give you the will power, determination and energy you need to achieve your goal. There are many yoga tools available to us – postures and sequences, breathing practises, visualisations and affirmations – but for me there is one key element to making our goals work. You have to believe in what you want fully and whole heartedly, with your intention focussing not just on the desired outcome, but on how that outcome will serve your greater life purpose, then work with an affirmation that fits. In the yogic tradition we call this Sankalpa.

You may be resolved to stop smoking, lose weight or find a new job, for example. All very worthy resolutions, but do your heart and your mind agree on your resolution and your intention behind it? Do you truly know why you have chosen this as your resolution?

Let me share with you how this knowledge helped me, earlier this year when I broke my foot. I was told at fracture clinic that I would probably need the bones pinning and be looking at 20 weeks in pot. Eeek, not good for someone who teaches yoga for a living! I was given 7 weeks grace and really set about healing. I was going to heal in 7 weeks – this was my goal, my resolution, my intention, call it what you will. I did everything I could to heal (this could be a blog post in itself!). Throughout that time I focussed unwaiveringly on healing, there was no doubt in my mind that I would heal. Of course I was focussed on the benefits of getting out of my pot but I also spent time, particularly in my meditation practise, thinking about the bigger picture. Why had I broken my foot so dramatically? What lessons did it have to teach me? How did this affect my greater life purpose? These questions allowed me to find the right affirmation to work with. Luckily for me I learnt the lessons, my foot healed perfectly and I also learnt the true power of positive intentions. It’s not good enough to just want something, you have to really want it with all your heart. You have to be more than focussed just on the immediate benefits of achieving your goal, but on why you want to achieve it.

So, before you launch yourself into your new year resolutions (and indeed to help you stay resolved) spend some time in silent sitting or meditation, to listen to what your heart really wants and to focus your mind on the positive intention.

I’ll leave you with some wise words from the Buddha: “The mind is everything. What you think, you become”.

I wish you all a peaceful and joy filled 2012. Ix

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