Life is a daily practice is my tagline. It’s one of the things I most fervently believe. Every day I have an opportunity to actively practice or put into practice those things which are most important to me.
Each of us comes into the world with tendencies based on our personalities. Over a lifetime we develop additional habits and patterns of being. Some are good like brushing your teeth before bedtime. While some are not so good like mindlessly diving into a carton of ice cream for a reason we can’t even identify. Whether good or bad these habits are our samskaras.
It’s probably an understatement to say that habits are hard to change. After all, we’ve unwittingly been growing and nurturing these habits for most of our lives. They’ve become so engrained that an action or response, or lack thereof, requires no thought. The habit just allows it to happen all on its own.
Daily practice is all about instilling a new habit. It’s a form of conditioning, like weight lifting for the mind. It is setting an intention each day that I will pause and take the time to make the choice that supports my deepest beliefs and goals for the future. It is yoga in action off the mat. For me it is working to choose patience over impatience. Courage over sitting quietly on the sidelines. Downtime over busyness. Building strength in forearm balance over ignoring its existence. Being mindful of the present over living in the future.
In The Secret Power of Yoga Nischala Joy Devi sums up beautifully what I’ve heard in one form or another through the years.
“Only you have the power to change your life.”
Gradually, with practice, we begin laying the groundwork that makes change possible and sustainable. It reinforces the positive habits we most want to carry with us so that they eventually become our new default response. Bit by bit the less desirable habit falls by the wayside. Our yoga has helped us create a new samskara.