This New Year I had much more people in my classes than usual for the first week or so. I encouraged my regular students to welcome the many new people to the practice of yoga. Many were open in saying that it was a New Year's resolution and that they were trying yoga out. I encouraged my regulars to relinquish their regular "spot" and make room for new students. I welcome new students and asked them to acknowledge themselves for trying something new or returning to something old.
I've seen over the last week or so the resolutioners have apparently returned to the comfort of their sofa's. Deciding that perhaps yoga wasn't for them, the gym to busy, they were to sweaty and the regiment just too much for them. What saddens me is the one's who left my classes with a big "thank-you, I really enjoyed that" and never returned. Did the yoga bliss not stay with you? My hope is; that they found another teacher that they preferred, or a class that was at a more convenient time for them or they took what they learned and are working on it at home.
I have never really been one to set a resolution to begin on January 1st or within the week after. I'm not exactly sure why people do it? To me, people spend the entire month of December, or perhaps a lifetime, eating bad food, not exercising and harming your body. People then set what to me seems like an unrealistic expectation of picking one day to get rid of it all and hope it sticks. I'm not too sure about that? Why not wish yourself a Happy New Day!? Chose a day that works for you! Slowly work up to that new thing you are going to try, rather than doing it all at once.
If it is yoga realize that it is a practice, it is a lifestyle. I don't think a person can in one day just flick a switch and all of a sudden become fit or a vegetarian or a non-smoker. Work up to it. Take an intro class once a week and commit to the practice of going to that class once a week. For the hard core carnivore try cutting out beef or pork first, then move to chicken while adding healthier food options to your diet. For the person trying to quit smoking - I know that's a hard one - I did it almost 10 years ago. Slowly cut back to a few a day and then let it go perhaps with help from a health professional.
We become very attached to habits, be that perceived positive habits or perceived negative habits. I just think it is unrealistic to say that one can all of a sudden on January 1st let go of a negative habit overnight. We are all creatures of habit or maybe creatures of attachment. Letting go of old habits and gaining new ones, letting go of a negative attachment and attaching on to something more positive takes work and is a practice in itself.
So now that the pressure of January 1st is over. Maybe you have returned to your sofa deciding that eating better is too hard, going to yoga takes to much time, quitting smoking sucks or whatever it is that you used to do. This time pick a date on your calendar, label it Happy New Day. Do your research, shop around, talk to different people, cut back and slowly change out the "negative" habit. Try again by saying "Happy New Day". Commit to your practice of letting go and try try again, before you know it you'll forget about whatever it is you thought you were trying to give up. Of course when you realize that it will be January 1st again. Just another day to you, because you will now be celebrating Happy New Day!
Jennifer is an RMT, long time yoga practitioner and teacher. Follow her musings as an RMT, yoga teacher, prenatal educator and mother of three.