Last month I talked about how practice can help us to alleviate suffering. It helps us to see what is, and find a “good fit.” Practice, as my teacher Rod said on his visit in mid-December, “helps us to make choices when we are not practicing.” It does this through a three-part process: tapas (enthusiasm, 100% presence), svadhyaya (self-study), and isvara pranidhana (surrender to that which supports you).

In the Yoga Sutras Patanjali speaks of these three as a trio of observances that inform one another to create a strong support, like a three-footed stool. They are all required in the practice of kriya yoga, the yoga of action, making a habit of one’s interest in staying awake and present. Take one out and you have an imbalance. Use all three and you have something strong to stand on.

This time of year is rife with talk of intention, and resolution, and purpose. It’s a time when many take stock of the year that has past and commit to a habit they’d like to integrate into their lives. A well-chosen positive resolve, called a sankalpa, can be lifechanging, especially when supported by three legs of kriya yoga: enthusiasm, self-study, and surrender.

Well-chosen means do-able, supported/supportive, and in accordance with the purpose you have in life. Maybe it is reaching out to an elderly neighbor, or the new parents across the street. Maybe you’ll buy only used or recycled things for a year, or make your own yogurt. Maybe you’ll start to meditate, finally address your aching neck or back, or practice yoga every day for a month (join us in February for our 28-day Commitment!).

Join us for the the Many Paths Teacher Panel on Sunday, January 13 at 4:30pm for a panel discussion on how we can develop habits that support our lives and let go of the ones that don’t.

Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer

View entire January 2013 Newsletter

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