― Sharon Salzberg,(1)
The practices of Yoga and meditation are tried and true in their benefits to our health and well-being. We can find research to validate this statement across many the many dimensions of physical wellness, pain reduction, healing, mental health and emotional stability. An excellent place to start in understanding all the applications of Yoga as a fitness, therapeutic and wellness discipline is this article from the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health.(2)
If you are reading this that is likely you have experienced some of these or other benefits of practicing Yoga or Meditation. Or, if you are beginning your inquiry for a solution to attaining your health and wellness goals here, getting this kind of help is a fervent hope and desire. So for many of us who haven’t yet been able to integrate consistent Yoga and meditation or other self care work into our lives the question is how do we develop and sustain practices that offer so much promise for our well-being.
In my previous post I cited compassion for oneself as the foundation for creating our intentions for change(aka resolutions) as we take stock in the new year. This is, of course, true anytime for any meaningful change process. With compassion at your center here are some more suggestions for building and sustaining a self care practice such as Yoga and meditation.
1.)Connect to Your Longing for More:
Wanting better health more tone and fitness, more prosperity or love can begin with connecting to your longing for more good in your life. This can be the beginning of fiercely(not forcefully) pursuing its attainment. No matter the intention, adjusting your lifestyle to seek any meaningful change is a process to with resistances and obstacles to work through. Staying in touch with that deep desire to be well that lead you to your work on yourself can be a good part of overcoming the obstacles so often that come with any worthwhile endeavor.
2.)Stay inspired and be re-inspired:
Though it is the practices themselves that are the change agents sustaining enthusiasm for what you are doing can be helped in many ways. Ongoing classes, workshops, inspiring books, videos and seminars can add depth and breadth to your practice. They can also and the catalyst to get unstuck or otherwise enhance your enjoyment of and accelerate your progress along the way.
3.)Be responsive, not reactive:
Although Yoga and meditation practices may provide significant beneficial results that accrue over time, at times negative experiences may appear for any number of reasons. They are not intrinsic to the practice but if they do come they may be an invitation to adjust our course. We may need to work more carefully, more skillfully or maybe more deeply. Perhaps we need to adjust the practice itself. The response is up to us with the support and guidance of anyone with whom we are working. It is our resilience and persistence that allows to continue onto our ultimate successes.
4.)Resilience–Stay with it…or come back to it:
Change happens over time and this process of our work on ourselves often comes with ups and downs. Of course, the ups are great and powerful reinforcements to our choices. The downs, however, can leave us discouraged and have the flavor of failure. Sometimes we fall off the path entirely in despair or frustration Doubt in ourselves or in the work itself can be the most vexing obstacle you will face. It is in these times we call upon the qualities of compassion, persistence and resilience. These qualities will get you back to the work and help you dissolve doubt and other obstacles over time. Interestingly, each opportunity to express these qualities can have the effect to build these inner resources to serve you moving forward.
Here is an eloquent description of resilience from the website Wisdom Commons:
Resilience is rooted in a tenacity of spirit—a determination to embrace all that makes life worth living even in the face of overwhelming odds. When we have a clear sense of identity and purpose, we are more resilient, because we can hold fast to our vision of a better future.(3)
5.) Find some like minded people to share the journey:
Though ultimately this process is our our own responsibility, for most of us this doesn’t, and shouldn’t be a lonely and isolated journey. A common inducement to create consistent Yoga and meditation habits and practice is to rely on community over will power. Again, from Wisdom Commons:
“Much of our resilience comes from community—from the relationships that allow us to lean on each other for support when we need it.”.(4)
No matter your circumstance and how you are feeling about what is going on with you right now, your presence here shows you have the most important qualities needed for success in your developing the habits needed to better your life. You are already manifesting the qualities of persistence and resilience! This is true whether your feel resilient, or can only see failure in past attempts to achieve your goals.
So on the path of wellness achieving our goals invites us to stretch beyond what is familiar safe and easy. We often want to quit just when change is upon us. The invitation here is to remain connected to the spark of desire that set on on our journey, to stay with it through the challenging parts, and enjoy the journey with the support and help of others who have walked along a similar path.
1.) Goodreads.com, https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/resilience?page=4
2.) National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health, https://nccih.nih.gov/health/yoga/introduction.htm
3.) Wisdom Commons, http://www.wisdomcommons.org/virtue/108-resilience/quotes
4.) Wisdom Commons, http://www.wisdomcommons.org/virtue/108-resilience/quotes