Yesterday morning, I did something amazing — I went to yoga at 5:45 a.m. Yes, a.m.
I’ve said it before, but often the best part of a yoga class (especially when you’re sleepy-eyed before 6 a.m.) is the intention at the beginning. Sometimes I wonder if these messages are really the only reason I love yoga so much.
Like in this case.
My teacher, at the very start of class, threw this quote out there:
When we pay attention to our habits, they reveal our beliefs.
I sat there thinking, Isn’t it the other way around? Don’t our beliefs define our habits?
But in reality, every routine, every tendency, every reaction we feel reinforces a belief we have. About life, about relationships, about ourselves. We’d love to think we create all of our habits, that we can sit and draw them out according to the person we want to be.
And, of course, we can do that eventually, to an extent, after a lot of hard work.
But more often than not, we act without really thinking, and those acts build up to reveal what we believe about ourselves.
I would love to say that I reflected on a million strong, positive, empowering habits during my yoga practice. And maybe I found a few: I pay attention to what I am doing, I work at my own pace, but I push myself too.
I also noticed: when I try a move that makes me tired, uncomfortable, that hurts even just a little, I back off immediately.
I’m not talking about a move that twists me into some position where I could injure myself. I mean when the teacher says, “Lift your arms higher,” and I do, and my shoulders burn, I immediately move back to where it’s comfortable. I don’t even let it sit long enough to let these new sensations settle.
I don’t mean to say that every single reaction you have when you’re in a yoga class reflects your personality. (But maybe I am saying that.) Either way, yoga is an amazing opportunity to confront those characteristics you notice. Yoga is the perfect time to say, “How are these habits related to my beliefs?”
In fact, any time is the perfect time to say, “How are these habits related to my beliefs?”
Because it might not be as cut and dry as you think. Noticing your habits may be the first step to realizing the stories you are telling yourself, the beliefs you are gripping so tightly.
For me? Maybe I need to let the sensations settle a little before I run away from things that hurt.