Yoga Spirit by Steve Nakon

Change In Our Lives

As we begin the New Year many of us think about change in our lives. Although we may be interested in making a change or starting something new we may not always know how to proceed. The familiar is comfortable and change can appear to be complicated or intimidating. However, it does not have to be that way. The teachings of yoga advise us that there are three primary components to initiate change. First we must begin, not just think about beginning. Next, we must practice this new behavior with enthusiasm. And finally, our commitment to change must be an on going process. This wisdom that yoga offers can be applied in our everyday lives.

For example, if the change we are seeking is to reduce stress, we have choices regarding how to incorporate this change in our lives. We could take a walk everyday and connect with nature, schedule a regular massage appointment, or begin a yoga practice. Whichever avenue we choose, it is important to begin the process. Let’s assume that we choose to begin practicing yoga. Finding a class time and location that works for us is important. Even more important is finding a teacher we can connect with and one that helps to move us in the direction we have chosen. But most important is to give it a try and begin.

Enthusiasm is key to the successful implementation of our desired change. If we are seeking stress relief it is important to pay attention to how our change tool (in this example yoga) is impacting our level of stress. How do we feel before, during and after our practice? Do we look forward to practicing? While practicing, do we feel the tensions and stress slipping away? Do we end with a smile on our face? Positive experiences will naturally build our enthusiasm and encourage us to continue the change process we have begun.

True change is an on going process rather than a temporary fix. It is a new way of moving forward in our lives. Taking this approach allows us to change gradually and enjoy the process as well as the result. Returning again to our example, beginning a yoga practice, working with a teacher, helps to create an atmosphere of support and allows relaxing and becoming clear. Before we realize it we will have incorporated change in our lives by enjoying the stress reducing benefits of yoga.

Whatever change our hearts desire we can start the process with three basic steps (1) simply begin (2) approach our new change with enthusiasm (3) make an ongoing commitment to our new change.

This Yoga Spirit article was originally published in the Transitions Bookplace Newsletter, January/February 2003

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