Breaking Good Habits

Image source: cogdogblog via Flickr

We often talk about learning how to break bad habits and forming new, healthy habits, and the topic seems to become especially relevant during the new year, when many of us are working hard to make new resolutions and make the next year better than the last. But I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about breaking habits both bad and good.

Why would you break good habits? Seems silly – if a habit is healthy or beneficial to you in some way, why would you want to break it? Simply put, a habit is something that you are automatically inclined to do. Rather than making a conscious decision, you are on autopilot mode. Your brain has already decided that what you’re doing is what you need to be doing right now, without you stopping to evaluate whether this is in fact the case — the very opposite of conscious living.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go through life on autopilot. Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not suggesting that you give up the good habit of brushing your teeth, but maybe it is time for a re-evaluation of the habits in your life and what they’re doing for you. It has definitely come to that point for me. You see, as I sit here I have a full-sized baby kicking at my insides waiting to come out any day now. More accurately, I am the one who is waiting. At nine months pregnant, my life is significantly changed; my yoga teaching is on hold, my yoga practice is significantly modified, my weekly runs are cancelled, and my to-d0 lists and objectives often go uncompleted because I am just too tired. I have lots of free time, but with most of my hobbies and regular activities currently unavailable to me, I have found myself feeling uninspired and left out lately, waiting to return to my regular life. There are only so many walks around the neighbourhood I can take.

After sitting around feeling bad about it for a few days, I’ve finally realized what the problem is: my good habits. Most of my regular good habits, like yoga and running, have become suddenly unavailable to me and I am thrown. My autopilot wants me to do things I can’t do at the moment, and because I’ve spent so much time listening to it instead of deciding how I want to live my life each day, I feel lost.

So it’s time to get creative. Time to put aside my habits and the life I’ve been living automatically, and decide each day what I want to do, where I want to go, and who I want to be.

Goodbye habits, hello conscious living. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to go make a pillow fort in my living room.

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Return of the Yogi

I have returned to my mat.

Well actually, I never left my mat. I’ve been on it, I just haven’t been present. But yoga takes place not only in our bodies but in our minds too, and mine hasn’t been on the mat much lately. This past month or two, I’ve been thinking mostly about how to keep my food down, as I experience intense morning sickness and the tiredness that comes along with the first trimester of pregnancy. An important distraction, indeed.

Yoga, of course, doesn’t care if you are pregnant or feel as though an evil elf has taken over your insides. It’s there for you, no matter what you’re going through. And so I say thank you my dear mat. Thank you for being there for me even when my mind has been elsewhere. Thank you for allowing me to feel normal again, even just for 15 minutes at a time. And thank you for not judging my inability to get through a vinyasa without child’s pose lately.

I have returned to my mat. And really, no matter what else is going on around me and inside of me, or what my practice looks like now, isn’t that the most important part? I think so.