Every year, people make resolutions to start yoga, lose weight, change their diet, begin meditating and become healthy. Every year, they fail miserably.
In her December 2011 article as a Red Room Contributor, Leza Lowitz discusses balance, grace, and being good to ourselves and others to see the changes we want to see. Read the excerpt below, and follow the link to see the full article.
And that's a good thing, says yoga teacher Ted Lafferty of the Yoga Studies Institute in Arizona, because we fail forward. If we didn't fail, we'd never evolve. This isn't just New Age thinking. In Buddhist cosmology, if we're all about pleasure, we're living in a "god realm" and have no need to leave it. Conversely, if we're always in pain, we're in a hell that is nearly impossible to escape from. Somewhere in the middle are ordinary human beings, who need an edge to move forward. "We don't get motivated by being comfortable," Lafferty explains. "We need just enough disatisfaction to want to improve, and just enough pleasure to know how good it feels to get there." That's really why we make resolutions, to force ourselves to grow. So why don't they always work? Somewhere between desire and action is a fine balance that needs to be struck. And yogis everywhere are seeking it. Over the past two decades, the yoga boom in the West had been largely physical, but after so many have gotten injured, burnt out, or just reached plateaus in their practice, we yearn for the equanimity that comes from equal parts will and surrender. That's why nowadays you'll see more teachers like Lafferty guiding their students in the "inner method" in addition to the "outer method" to find this balance we so desperately seek.
What exactly is the inner method? Using our thoughts to change our habits, for one. Nicole Nichols of Jivamukti Yoga in New York says: "What we label 'anger,' 'jealousy,' 'fear' or 'sadness,' are really just waves of energy rising in the body. Because of our past experiences, we react in the same old ways. These habits are what create our reality, but when we understand that the old label does not inherently apply, we can actually choose to respond instead of react."
The outer method of asanas helps by opening up our energy channels so that these waves can flow more easily, she explains. By practicing both inner and other methods, we can change our world, one thought and action at a time. Nichols puts it this way: "Yoga helps us to recognize the power we have in every moment to ride this energy, to simply let it dissolve back to its source. The 'source' is our ultimate self -- the source is grace and love." Could it be that your annoying boss might really be a teacher? Even an angel?
Read the full aritcle on Huffington Post.