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My Lesson in Resolutions

Every time you want to give up, think about what you can achieve if you kept trying something that you failed at, over and over again, until you got it, instead of giving up the first time that you didn't get it.

Yoga Class along the Oregon Coastline.
Catching a summertime yoga class along the Oregon Coastline.

As my last yoga class of the year came to an end this morning, my mind wound itself back twelve months to my first yoga class of this year. Last January, I made the resolution to start going to yoga regularly. At the first class I went to this year, I couldn’t get into very many poses, and although I felt insanely defeated, there was something I liked, and I kept coming back. As 2019 continued on, there were times I felt so accomplished, amazed that my body could actual twist and stretch into poses that were impossible for me months before, and I can recall walking out of classes where I only successfully completed three poses.

As I stood on my mat before class started this morning, and made my intention for the last class of the year, promising myself to try and complete every pose that was presented this morning no matter how scared of falling over I was; promising myself to block out the random thoughts – grabbing a bottle of champagne to take to a party tonight, the phone call I needed to return, the apology that I needed to make, the plane ticket that I need to buy; and made the commitment to myself to be present.

As class was winding down, Pigeon Pose was up, a pose that twelve months ago, I sat in Hero Pose and would watched everyone else complete. A pose, six months ago, I could only do on my left side, and when the right side was up, I sat in Hero Pose and watched everyone else complete. This time, as gracefully as possible, I moved my front leg as horizontally as I could across the mat and lowered my body down. Next up, Bird of Paradise, I made it through the second modification, and rather than feel defeated, I accepted that my body (and my mind) were not ready to lift up onto the toes of my front foot, let alone extend it out and balance.

As we were on our backs at the end of class, our instructor led us to think about ten things that we were thankful for this year, or ten things that made us feel accomplished. Number one on my list… Pigeon Pose, and the lessons that pose ( and others) brought me this year. From initial defeat, to trying again and again, making modifications, attempting from different angles, and finally making it work.

I went to 206 classes this year, in two countries, in six different states, and from at least 12 different instructors. I walked into each one of those 206 classes knowing that I couldn’t do every pose.

Let’s think about that…I walked into 206 yoga classes this year, knowing that I couldn’t complete every pose…essentially knowing walking in, I wasn’t going to 100% complete the class, and yet I walked out of those classes 206 times, with a new lesson learned and a sense of accomplishment, each and every time.

There were classes I loved. There were classes that I hated.

There were times that I wanted to raise my hand and throw up a middle finger at the instructor. Days that I left class absolutely amazed at how my body could twist and contort, and times that I left realizing just how much work I had to do. Times that my negative thoughts were stopped suddenly when the instructor asked us to bring our fingers to our lips to remind us to have kind and loving thoughts, and moments when I let my mind become clouded by fleeting thoughts, that I had to be reminded in class, like a kid not paying attention in school, to get back to my intention for that day.

More important than the lessons that I learned, is the sense of accomplishment that I have had for the past few weeks, knowing that I stuck with the goal, the resolution, and the intention I had last January 1st, when normally, the resolutions that I have made on New Year’s Day were thrown out the window by the middle of February.

When making your resolutions this year, be kind to yourself, and stick to it. Define what it would mean to you to attain that goal, learn something new, or change a bad habit. Think about what life would look like. Lastly, every time you want to give up this next year, think about the 206 times that I kept facing my resolution, and what you could achieve if you kept trying something that you failed at 206 times, instead of just once.

Happy New Year!

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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