Even though I resist resolutions, I can't help making a least a few little ones each year. It's a big deal to get through 365 days and a great opportunity to make a shift in one's life. This year I decided to give up half-and-half. More than a few people have chuckled at my resolution. It seems pretty minor compared to giving up alcohol or exercising daily or even eating more kale. For me, giving up half-and-half is a giant deal because I drink coffee with half-and-half every day and I love it more than anything in the world. But alas, being in Hawaii in a bathing suit last week led me to consider the slow accumulation of mass that I want to fight as long as possible, so fare-thee-well mighty half-and-half.
I had the opportunity to teach both the New Year's Eve and New Year's Day classes at The SweatBox this year. Seeing all of the students who made the effort to practice on these days inspired me to dig deeper into the possibilities of New Year's resolutions. At the beginning of class on both days, I invited the class to think about how they wanted to live their lives, to think about what "their best self" might look like. Yoga practice is a microcosm of the bigger world, so practicing with our best intentions, not just going through the motions, offers us a way to develop tools for how we live life off of the mat as well as on the mat.
Anyone who practices Bikram Yoga knows the significance of locking the knee in the standing balancing postures. If you're not a Bikram practitioner, just know that it's a big ass deal. Yesterday in class I noticed a lot of students kicking out with a bent knee (non-Bikram people, trust me that's a no-no.) So many times over the years while teaching, I've wanted to yell out at the top of my lungs, "You are good enough!" to the struggling students in the room who kick out on a bent knee. Standing on a locked knee, (not kicking out) is good enough. For those of you still struggling to balance on a locked knee, it might take a while, but you'll get there. Just be patient. Yesterday I said, "when you kick out with a bent knee, it is as if you are pulling out a weed, but leaving the root." It might look pretty for a minute, but the weed is still there. I know how it feels to kick out on a bent knee and I know how it feels to pull a weed and leave the root because, as the quintessential lazy gardener, that's pretty standard for me.
I have tried to be a better gardener at various times in my life. I've committed to pulling out the weeds by the roots, really getting down there. When it happens, it is SO satisfying. Every time I do it, I think, that weed is NEVER coming back. I don't kick out on a bent knee anymore either. I haven't for a while. It's taken years, and lots and lots of practice. My official resolution this year is to quit half-and-half, but the bigger one is to dig deep, get to the root-- in the garden, in the yoga room and in my life.